PandaLabs published its security tips for consumers to stay safe this summer and avoid falling victim to computer fraud. During the summer, people (especially children) have more spare time on their hands for using computers and connecting to the Internet more frequently, thus increasing the risk of falling victim to malicious code.
One of the newest scams that has surfaced recently involves sending fake flight confirmation emails. The potential victim receives a fake confirmation for ‘recently purchased tickets’ with instructions on how to open an attachment to view the ticket. The file, however, is a Trojan of the Sinowal family that is designed to steal users’ confidential information.
“In the summer, many people book flights online to get to their holiday destinations,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Cyber-crooks are taking advantage of this situation to send a new wave of fake emails aimed at tricking users into opening the attachments and infecting their computers.”
PandaLabs is continually analyzing the latest Internet trends, and with this in mind, offers the following advice to help safeguard users’ security this season:
Use caution with social networking sites: People give out too much information about their holiday plans on social networking sites, even tipping criminals off about their empty homes. Check privacy settings and avoid sharing private information on social networks.
Install parental controls: Children spend more time in front of computers during summer vacation. Installing a good parental control program on the computer will help minimize children’s vulnerability on the Internet.
If you can avoid it, never use a shared computer: If using a shared or public computer on vacation is a must, prevent identity theft by making sure your account doesn’t automatically save your password and user ID. If you suspect the computer’s security has been compromised by a virus, leave it and use another. Take care when connecting an external device to the computer, as it may become infected without your knowledge.
Take care with email: Email is one of the main virus entry points, so pay special attention to it. Do not open messages from unknown senders or click on dubious links.
Beware of public Wi-Fi networks: You could be hooking up to a network set up by hackers to steal any information that you share across the Internet. When you connect to email, social networking sites or online stores, make sure you are using a secure connection (https), so that traffic is encrypted and no one else can access the information.
Keep your computer up-to-date: Malware seeks to exploit existing security holes in systems to infect them. Make sure all necessary security patches and updates are properly installed.
Protect your computer: Make sure you have reliable, up-to-date protection installed on your computer.
“By following PandaLabs’ tips for staying secure, users can enjoy their summer vacations with greater peace of mind. Just as people would lock all doors and windows before going on vacation, consumers should also take great care to protect their digital worlds,” added Corrons.