Computer security expert shares tips on staying safe amid surge in cybercrime

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Friday, October 9, 2020
Cybercrime on the rise: Tips for staying safe online
Nina Pineda shares tips on how to stay safe amid a spike in cybercrime.

With more people working from home, it's never been more important to make your home safe from cybercriminals.

The FBI recently reported that the number of complaints about cyberattacks to their Cyber Division is up to as many as 4,000 a day.

National Cyber Security Alliance Executive Director Kelvin Coleman said it's simple math, more people online has caused a sharp uptick in cybercrime.

He's seen a 400% increase from what the FBI was seeing before the coronavirus pandemic.

"We wanted to have access to our files and access to our work and now we are seeing the consequences of that," Coleman said.

He said many of us made the mistake of not beefing up our home computer security software when the pandemic forced millions of people to work from home.

Here's Coleman's advice for staying safe online.

Don't put off updating security software

Pop-ups alerting users to the latest security software updates are easily ignored, but Coleman said doing so puts users at risk to the latest tactics from hackers.

"That's sending you the latest security updates for whatever challenges may be out there so we want people to update sooner than later," Coleman said.

Enable multi-factor authentication

"For those that may not be as familiar, that's the extra check-point or two beyond your username or password," Coleman said. "Perhaps it's a picture you're clicking on or a code you have to verify."

You'll get fraud alerts on your device to confirm or stop the activity, from bank transactions to a hijacking of your food order.

Change your passwords

October is Cybersecurity AwarenessMonth and a good reminder to change your passwords.

"Believe it or not, 'password' or 'password1' arestill popular passwords for people to use. It seems unbelievable in this day and age," Coleman said. "Those types of easy to guess passwords certainly are taken advantage of because they have access to botnets and other devices that can help them crack those very easy passcodes."

Don't click on suspicious links

The current climate of civil unrest, a contentious election, and the COVID crisis has also created a ripe opportunity for bad actors.

Don't click on solicitations on social media or anything sent to your email you're not familiar with.

"Be very suspicious if you get a link from an unknown party. Pick up the phone and say 'hey did you send me something,'" Coleman said.



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