It once used to be said, “two things are certain in life, death and taxes.” Well, it’s time to update this well-known cliche.
Three things are certain in life – death, taxes, and having your personal information exposed in a security breach.
Security breaches are the new normal. Companies big and small are being hacked. In fact, it’s likely you do business with one of the following:
- Home Depot
- Anthem Healthcare
- JP Morgan
- British Airways
The list goes on and is only going to get longer.
Thus, it can now be said, “Three things are certain in life – death, taxes, and having your personal information exposed in a security breach.”
As a result, it’s important to be vigilant with your computer and online security. Now, online security practices involve mitigating risk of damages from data compromise.
Thus, it’s important to watch what you post on social media. Furthermore, be careful with the emails you open and the links they contain. Now, criminals with consumer dossiers are sending emails with links to malware, even ransomware.
Other best practices include keeping your operating system, software applications, and antivirus software up to date. Likewise, apply all security patches.
Business Email Compromise
Yet another problem to watch for is BEC, or Business Email Compromise. Specifically, criminals are impersonating individuals by email. That is, they’re sending legitimate looking email with intent to defraud.
Business Email Compromise is a significant problem. To enumerate, I personally know several individuals targeted by BEC. Case in point, Amie O’Shaughnessy is a travel agency owner in the San Francisco Bay Area. A con artist impersonated her in a BEC email to her financial manager with an official request to wire $50,000.
The end result, one successful BEC is now a $50,000 loss.
This type of fraud is more common than you’d think. Be careful, email isn’t always what it seems.
Change Your Passwords
Equally important, change your passwords. A recent data dump from several hacks published over 770 million email addresses and 21 million unencrypted passwords.
If you’re like most people, you probably use the same, or a similar password on a variety of websites. Of course, hackers know this and will attempt to use these email and password combinations on other websites.
Finally, use two-factor authentication to add an additional layer of protection.
Welcome to the new normal. We’ve all been PWNed.