PSA: Protect your devices from phishing

July 13, 2018 No Comments

I belong to several email loops. Every once in a while, one will see a flurry of posts that only contain a weird looking link. I don’t click on them, because I know without a shadow of a doubt that the person whose email apparently sent the message is not the person who intended to chat on the loop. It’s a scam.

I also know that people fall for these scams, every day. And once anybody on that loop actually clicks the link, it makes the rest of us even more vulnerable. The only way to stop the cycle is for each of us to break it.

Even if you have never received anything like that, there are precautions that each of us who uses email for anything should take.

So. I know it’s a PITA, but: change ALL your passwords. Seriously. And you should do them twice:

Change your passwords. ALL your passwords, not just email. Change your password for everything you log into: email, your website, banking, devices, social media, EVERYTHING. That’ll slow down intrusion long enough for you to do the next steps.

Scan your computer and your phone THOROUGHLY. Use whatever antivirus / antispam program you always have installed and kept up to date. (You have one, right? On all your devices?) Do deep scans, not just the normal cursory scan.

Then scan again, using tools like MalwareBytes https://www.malwarebytes.com/ and SuperAntiSpyware https://www.superantispyware.com/ . And whatever other free tools you can find for your operating systems.

If you have a website, scan it for malware too, using something the Sucuri free tool https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/.

After each scan, if you find anything troubling, deal with it immediately. Don’t let it sit untended.

Then change your passwords one more time.

Use long, complex passwords. Use a different password for each login. Use a password manager like LastPass https://www.lastpass.com/ or 1Password https://1password.com/ or Dashlane https://www.dashlane.com/.

I’ve got an antivirus/antispam tool installed that does live monitoring. I also have it scheduled to run a normal scan every night, and a thorough scan every week. And I have a reminder in my calendar to do a really deep scan with MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware once a month.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re on a Mac or a PC. Both are vulnerable. The only reason PCs are hit more often is because they have a bigger market share, so it’s less work for the hackers – not because they’re more vulnerable.

Be safe out there!

About Win

Win Day is a multi-published, award-winning author who loves to read and write about strong men and savvy women. Her first novel, On a Whim, won the RWA Contemporary Chapter’s Stiletto contest in two categories: Best Contemporary Short and Best First Book. Treasure in the Library is her second published novel. Visit her writing website at www.windaywrites.com or her web development company at www.creativeimplementations.com.

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