Identity theft protection

A few common insights can show you how to avoid losing your identity or becoming a victim of cyber crime.

In this modern world, it seems like everyone knows someone who’s been a victim of identity theft. It could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even yourself!
Every three seconds in America there is a new identity theft according to a recent Fox News poll. Identity theft not only affects the actual victims but also their families. Like an ill wind this can have ripples into their future. This can affect the victim’s ability to qualify for credit for a home mortgage or even a new car. So how do you protect yourself and your loved ones in this digitally connected age? It’s no longer possible to totally disconnect from the internet with so much being done in the virtual world, from work to connecting to friends and family. Today researching for a job or even shopping for presents is often done online.

Most people know to be cautious while online and they never leave their computer unlocked, especially in a public space. By not doing so, not only do you risk the public embarrassment of an inappropriate social media update, but you could also be faced with financial loss or ruin.

When shopping online, most of us know to look for the “lock” icon near the web address to make sure that your information is being encrypted and that the site is secure. Though we may jump at a deal that is a little bit too good to be true, it’s a good idea to resist the urge. When going through our email most of us would never dream of opening an attachment from a stranger. However, you should also hesitate to open a suspicious one from a friend who may have been hacked themselves.

A new way of spreading Malware is by using mail massages with .zip attachment. In the file there is a program trying to disguise itself as a document. Clicking on the program causes it to operate, and it is usually a spearhead that loads other Malware into your computer. If by any chance it has happened to you, you should treat your computer as “contaminated”. For further details see our video about mail threats.

A sign that your computer is compromised can be the addition of fields to bank/credit card sites. Certain Spyware do something which called “code injection” of additional fields to bank forms. It means that the spyware intercept bank form and before the form is sent to the browser for display, it adds some additional fields like SSN. The additional field asks you to fill additional information that is needed by cyber criminals to impersonate you. So if your bank site looks a little different to you, you might check with the bank if indeed they ask for additional information or is it a Spyware in your computer.

Phising sites are also common in getting people’s access information to protected site. Phising starts with an alarming mail that tries to provoke you to take immediate action. Clicking on the mail link leads to a fake site that impersonates an original site, trying to get you to insert your username and password. You should know about this and beware from it.

Even with the best intentions, malware can still get through all of your precautions, leaving you and your system vulnerable. What exactly is malware? More importantly, are antivirus and firewall software enough protection from these cyber threats that multiply every day? If not, what other options are there available to you as a back up once your first line of defense has been penetrated?

Let’s start off by looking at malware. Malware is short for “Malicious Software” and malicious software is exactly what it sounds like: software deliberately designed to cause damage or an unwanted action on your computer. This can be anything from adware which can clog your system with unwanted pop-ups, to spyware which can not only follow your every keystroke but can now use your own webcam to spy on you. It also includes viruses that can be used to send out mass emails from your email account or actually harm your computer.

Antivirus and firewall programs protect your system by looking for a specific virus signature and then alert you to the fact that a virus is present. Not only this has an innate weakness when a new virus is present, but also when an old virus has had its code adjusted by a few lines to change its signature. So how can you be more malware vigilant?

Thanks to a patent pending invention called “Magen – Malware Vigilance” not only is it easy to be malware vigilant, but it also only takes a few minutes compared to the hours it may take to do a full scan of your hard drive with an antivirus software. What Magen does is instead of looking for a virus signature, is looks at the places where the viruses go to embed themselves in your computer. These places are called “rooting points”, and it takes only a few minutes to check them. If Magen finds any new programs you are quickly alerted and able to remove the malware before any harm can be done. With the average cost of identity theft in America being almost $5,000, the extra protection Magen offers is well worth the $30 annually.