A recently released Australian study estimates that $300 million is lost each year to online fraud, up 16 per cent from $261 million in 2012. With the average value of illegal transactions totaling almost $200, these individuals aren’t losing a fortune. Still, losing any amount of money to online fraud is unpleasant and unnerving, leaving one to wonder where the breach occurred, and how the sensitive data was accessed.
While big box stores have gotten flack in the past year for not having adequate security measures in place, fraud experts suggest the biggest concern for consumers is not where they shop in person; rather, using online websites to shop leaves shoppers’ financial secrets vulnerable to cyber-thieves.
Fortunately, there are simple ways for the average individual to guard their information. Kinetik I.T. President Josette van Stiphout shares some basics for keeping information safe. “When opening an account online,” she suggests, “the first thing to do is to choose a unique username and strong secure password—not the obvious ones.
Any device connected to the Internet is at risk for exposure to malware, viruses, and hackers. Keeping devices clean, as well as keeping current with updates—which often include security fixes—for software, applications, and operating systems will also help mitigate the risk of infection or intrusion.
Everyone loves posting to social networks, but keeping your personal life, well, more personal, is another way to safeguard information. Posting images of vacation while on vacation may seem innocuous, but it can be a clue to cyber thieves that you may not be paying close attention to your finances. Another threat is using unsecured Wi-Fi networks and public hotel computers. Ward Clapham, vice president of recovery services at Absolute Software in Vancouver, British Columbia is quoted as saying in an NBC article, "Because they're on vacation, they most often want to quickly check an email, or post a picture to Facebook, and blindly connect to a network not knowing or caring who runs it or its security setup." Cyber thieves are setting up Wi-Fi networks for the sole purpose of getting a hold of your personal or financial data.
In addition to not using unsecured connections, Internet users should also ensure they’re using secure websites, the URL of which will begin with “https.” These sites are able to encrypt login details prior to sending it to the server, keeping it safe from prying eyes.
It’s possible remain cyber-theft free by being aware and using some foresight. Whether you or your business has been the victim of cyber-crime, Kinetik offers disaster recovery audit, planning and implementation services to get you back on your feet. Located in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, Kinetik IT is a full-service information technology and Internet services provider. To learn more about services and products, and to stay up to date with Kinetik IT, visit www.Kinetik-IT.com or follow Kinetik on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.