Perhaps it’s a consequence of global recession, international cyber warfare, or just a new generation with convoluted morals, but the facts are the same. The internet is considerably more dangerous than it was a year or two ago.
A recent attack on Home Depot alone is rumored to have compromised around 60 million credit cards, complete with validation data like zip codes, CVV2 codes, and pin numbers. Details about the how this attack happened aren’t out yet, but it’s almost certain an internet connected system was the breach point. (Target’s recent credit card breach was made through such a system.)
And while retailers are struggling to secure their data and not be the next news headline, viruses and other malware continue to put individuals at risk.
Rarely do I see a computer that isn’t infected with some form of adware—perhaps 3 clean computers out of 10. Most adware is simply there to show you ads, but some bring along more malicious friends to the party, like key-loggers or bot-net clients.
How can you stay safe in this brave new world? Protecting your financial data is a good start—get a separate credit card or prepaid-Visa to use online. Never use a debit card online or with a pin number in stores. (processing as credit adds protection.)
Secondly, grab a good password manager (use a paper notebook, or try LastPass’s encrypted online service, lastpass.com). Create a long, unique password for every account you have. (long is better than complex.)
If this overwhelms you, have a chat with a computer security specialist. A free security evaluation is included in every Freedom Club subscription. In addition, we’ll take off adware whenever you’re infected, and with a yearly commitment, you’ll get a world-class security program to help you stay protected in the first place.