Hacking and Phishing Schemes seem to be on the rise. This includes more sophisticated efforts from hackers on social media. Getting hacked as a small business or individual can lead to some devastating results. Financial loss, data loss, identity loss and more. I (Jennifer) was hacked in February. While I work on the interwebs and think I’ve seen it all … a new form of hacking for me is how my situation occurred. I was hacked through a phone companies website which was hacked. Meaning … their site was hacked and everyone coming to their site was hacked. This hack came in the form of screen sharing.
Screen Sharing with Online Agents
This was a new way of being hacked for me. I was on a popular phone companies website, I had been logged into my account and I started to do an online order process. We’ve all seen the online chat options on websites. I clicked over because I had a question on the order and I spoke to the agent. The agent asked if they could screenshare with me to view the order. The agent sent me a link … I clicked “accept” and that is what allowed them into my computer. Not just my computer – but my phone as well! The more amazing part is that it took my cybersecurity client to help me identify where I was hacked … I didn’t even know at the time that this occurred. I completed my order, got my items and away I went. I noticed documents being opened a few days later and realized someone had remote control access of my computer. Scary and upsetting at the same time. Thankfully, I have great people around me to help get through the situation and learn!
Online Security Programs:
My particular hack circumvented all my online security. I had an online security program, but because I allowed access, it bypassed all security measures. I also learned the program I had was not really the best. (and I was paying some big bills to have it!) Here are the programs that were recommended to me to review.
Webroot: This program has a lot of options for both personal online security and for your business. It protects your online browsing, your webcam and it doesn’t take up a lot of space on your computer. It helps you with those links on Google and it’s a US based company.
Malwarebytes: This program found things the other programs didn’t. It’s accepted that no matter what online security package you get, Malwarebytes is the backup to them all. Do a trial with your own security program and watch MalwareBytes find somethings your other programs didn’t!
Avast: is one of those programs that you may start to see on the bottom of some emails. It prides itself on layer after layer of security shields. (Avast Security layers) and works to keep up with all the latest threats.
AVG: Another robust program for your PC’s, MAC, SmartPhone and Tablets. This program has a great VPN service and a clean up service. It also protects from webcam hacks and ransomware.
All those options have mobile phone security options as well. Including VPN services. Speaking of VPN services, have you used those airport or airplane charging stations. Any public charging stations? What about syncing your phone to that rental car? I have found that typically your phone can have some vulnerabilities this way.
How To Stop Phone From Syncing Data:
I found the device StopSync to be helpful in my travels. It’s like a USB condom for your phone. Sounds silly, but even these places can be harmful to your data. On their site, you can see a list of companies and corporations that utilize this device. Protecting your data in every area is important! You can purchase a SyncStop right on Amazon here: SyncStop on Amazon (affiliate link)
Even the Department of Homeland Security as some things to say! In a blog article dated January 26th, 2018 titled: Take steps to ‘own’ your online presence – they provide steps to consider to keep safe online. This includes free apps. Some stores take steps to verify apps … but at the end of the day – you need to be careful of what you install on your phone. Reading that article provides some great information!
Your WiFi Router:
Yes, even your WiFi Router has vulnerabilities. I learned this one much to my surprise about the WPS button on modems. This little button allows you to easily connect your wireless devices like wireless printers. That button and access is a security problem. To read more on this we found this great article titled How to Keep Your Home Wi-Fi Safe From Hackers from Gizmondo – it’s a great overall list and ways to help protect that hacker route into your home network.
Social Media Phishing:
Social Media is another vulnerable location. Recently we had some clients that had posts on their page saying they were guilty of copyright infrigement on Facebook and they needed to click a link to complete a form or their page would be restricted (or shut down). Never click those links … Facebook will always notify you of issues via their own platform in the way of a notification. Facebook will also never ask you for your passwords or your date of birth. Here is a great article from Facebook on issues and ways to keep your data safe on their site: Facebook’s Suspicious emails and messages guidelines You can always forward those emails to Phish@fb.com to help Facebook crack down on those phishing schemes.
So many things to keep in mind these days! Keeping yourself aware and updated on all your security programs help. Keeping aware of links you click or apps your download and even doing those screen share programs can be easy ways to gain access to your information. Stay safe on the world wide web everyone!