Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the AFFIRM Luncheon for an awesome talk on the state of cybercrime worldwide. Donald Codling, Unit Chief and DHS Liaison, Cyber Division from the FBI, took us through a very informative presentation on the topic of cybercrime on a mobile scale. I never knew there were so many people out to get my money and information online and on my phone!
Today’s mobile security can be compared to the Wild West. Take for instance this example. A cyber criminal who lives in the Ukraine hacks into your computer by sending you a very compelling email with a spyware loaded link. You believe him when he sends you a document “from your boss” or “from the government” and he infiltrates your system. You log on to your online banking and the spyware gathers all of your passwords and information. Now your money is Mr. Ukraine’s. Ah, but it isn’t going to the Ukraine…it’s going to Ghana. Why? Because Ghana doesn’t have cyber security crime laws. From there the money get’s transfered even more until it ends up with Mr. Ukraine on vacation in the Seychelles islands, and you are have lost it all.
US Agencies like the FBI and DHS and the USSS are pulling out all the stops to not only keep individuals safe from these malicious acts here in the United States, but are also training governments worldwide (in places like Africa where the money goes to) to effectively and efficiently stop cybercrime in its tracks.
But in the end, it all starts with us. We live in a world where it is becoming easier to complete tasks on the go, but we have to be smart about it. We must be the ones who are ahead of the game and taking control of how we use our devices:
Lesson 1: Always have updated malware/spyware protection software installed on your computer.
Lesson 2: Avoid doing online banking on the same computer/device that you check Facebook on. Cyber criminals target social networking sites with links and spam all the time. If you must, completely close the browser and open a fresh one before logging into your bank’s website.
Lesson 3: Be careful what you do on your mobile device. Smart phones aren’t safe from cyber crime.
Lesson 4: Use websites like http://www.ic3.gov to educate yourself on cyber crimes as well as file any complaints.
The faster, easier, and more mobile our lives go, the riskier it is to send out important information.
Do you have experience with cybercrime? What do you find are the best practices/tips towards keeping your personal information safe?
AFFIRM is a non-profit, volunteer, educational organization whose overall purpose is to improve the management of information, and related systems and resources, within the Federal government. AFFIRM supports IRM/IT educational opportunities by conducting seminars and related educational sessions.