Cyber Smart: October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

Senior cybersecurity

Many of us may already be on our cyber toes: It’s our elders we need to look out for, now more than ever. Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart. With this theme and hashtag, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) focus on an awareness campaign during the month of October.

As online phishing schemes and fake emails continue to flood our email inboxes (hopefully most of them go right into spam), leading to hacked accounts if we aren’t careful, there’s no time like the present to up your awareness of cyber security.

Just the other day, our aunt, in the denial stage of early-onset dementia, once again freaked out at an email telling her she’d ordered some bizarre item from a big-box retailer. She immediately clicked on the email, started downloading the information, and was promptly hacked. Her husband tried to intervene but wasn’t quick enough. Her laptop spent the next week at the computer doctors, getting cleaned up. Can you relate?

The CISA and NCSA offer this helpful phishing or spoofing tipsheet to keep you clear and to help you monitor loved ones’ emails. Here’s how hackers might lure you in:

“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.”

“During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”

“Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”

Sound familiar? Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect computers with malware and viruses to collect personal and financial information. Don’t be fooled. Phishing emails appear to come from an actual financial institution or e-commerce site.

And remember: NEVER give out personal information such as account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers via email.



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