Clearwater Management Post: Cybersecurity Conference
Upgrade in Cybersecurity Scam Prevention
As leaders in the field of portfolio management and wealth preservation, Clearwater Management take a proactive approach in ensuring the safety of all client transactions and securities. Utilizing the latest in technological innovation to safeguard their clients from potential cybersecurity attacks, it is a matter of public interest for them to make available all details regarding recent upgrades in these cybersecurity scam prevention measures.
Some of the major threats both individuals and businesses need to be concerned about consist of attacks designed not only for financial gain, but also to collect personal data. Major recent potential threats to cybersecurity have been classified as follows:
Phishing scams can be executed via a host of platforms, including via email, phone, SMS, or any other instant messaging services. A usual form for a phishing scam to be introduced would be for the cybercriminal to adopt the guise of a company or entity that you recognize through branding or do regular business with. Often, they are able to utilize sophisticated tools to disguise the origins of the email or other form of message – so it appears to be a genuine communication from the known company or entity.
Examples could be emails or text messages that look as though they have been sent from your bank, a government service agency, or a legitimate service provider. Usually there will be an incentive for the recipient of the phishing email to click on a link that unleashes a virus, or to provide login details or other personal data via a portal that looks as though it belongs to the genuine host.
Never click on a link from an unknown source or download any attachments without ensuring you have active virus-ware installed on your system.
Ransomware is becoming more prevalent in its use, extending to corporations and individuals. Most often ransomware will be used in the act of retrieving and locking systems and data to make them unusable – until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware attacks can target small to large businesses and can range in scope. Inevitably, the victim/s of a ransomware attack will lose valuable resources on recovering their data and decrypting their systems to make them usable again.
Never pay ransomware. No matter how incriminating or sensitive the stolen or frozen material or content is, please always report the activity to your local law enforcement authority.
Cyber criminals have become adept at intercepting legitimate emails that contain bills or payment notifications and modifying the bank details to reflect the bank account details of the offender. Often unsuspecting recipients will pay the bill before the fraud is detected. Then the money will have been transferred elsewhere, leaving authorities little hope of recovering the funds. Some cyber fraud incidences have been for large amounts of money that have never been able to be reclaimed.
With the threat of cybersecurity breaches growing more sophisticated and targeted, it’s important to stay up to date on recent trends and remain a vigilant stance in all online transactions. At the same time, you don’t want a fear of cybercrime to prevent you from engaging with the online world as much as you need.
To make life a little easier, here are 3 key things you can do to protect yourself and your business from potential cybersecurity attacks
Routine cybersecurity checks
The key to strong cybersecurity is to keep up daily or routine cybersecurity checks. This includes doing regular backups. Make sure all your apps are kept updated, and that all your virus protection software is up to date. Update all software across all devices regularly. If possible, change your settings to automatic updates.
Use multi-factor authentication across all secure platforms, especially banking and transactional applications that you may use to transfer money across. Multi-factor authentication can take the form of an online password backed up by a text message passcode sent to your phone. Or you could invest in a physical security keycode that randomly generates new passcodes for all transactions above a certain amount.
Back up everything. Create a separate backup file of all data and make sure that this backup is stored offline. If possible, also arrange for updated backup files to be stored physically offsite, too.
Always be cautious about exchanging any personal information or data online. This includes via social media or messenger apps.
Clearwater Management would like to remind its clients never to share passwords online or by phone. Also, they would never contact potential clients in an unsolicited way. If you do receive contact from someone purporting to be a representative of the company, please terminate the call and contact us immediately.
Nearly $80 million Lost in Vacation and Travel Scams in 2021
2021 was the year when the travel and leisure industry was partially revived after the drastic restrictions that blocked it the previous year. However, while travel agencies, hotels, and airlines were eager to get back to business and start making profits again, scammers were also waiting for opportunities to attack. Many people have been looking forward to spending their holidays abroad since Covid-19 travel restrictions have gradually been lifted over the past months.
This meant planning, booking, and purchasing accommodation, plane tickets, and different other tourism-related services. With so many consumers ready to spend on vacations, scammers soon became creative and invented all sorts of shady schemes to make money from enthusiastic travelers. From fake airline tickets, to travel agency impersonation scams, many were the tricks that managed to deprive consumers of almost $80 million since January 2020 in travel and vacation scams.
Understanding The Gravity Of The Situation
The Federal Trade Commission made this figure public to help people understand the gravity of the situation and exercise more caution while booking tickets and accommodation for their vacations. The $80 million loss was calculated based on the complaints consumers filed following their losses.
The BBB (Better Business Bureau) has also issued warnings during the past months to help people become aware of the potential risks as scams were rising at an alarming rate. Many of the travel scams that made tourists lose hard-earned money in 2021 involved telemarketing. Scammers pretended to call from different travel agencies to promote vacation offers. They either tried to sell full packages involving accommodation plus transport or pretended to act as airline ticket brokers who could offer clients great discounts on different routes. These calls didn’t raise suspicion, given that legit companies were also willing to work hard to recover for last year’s losses, and heavily promoted their services both online and through telemarketing.
Fake Websites That Look Like Legitimate Booking Platforms
Another common travel scam that came to light this year involved fake websites that look like legitimate booking platforms. People who made payments via those platforms thinking they would buy plane tickets or book hotel rooms ended up losing money that went into scammers’ accounts. Most of the time, these scams were discovered after the person arrived at their destination and realized there was no room or apartment booked under their name. Obviously, those who booked fake plane tickets managed to discover earlier that they were scammed. Many of those copycat websites were well designed to appear genuine to those who are not very familiar with the real booking platforms.
One way to detect them, besides searching online to see whether there is another website with a similar name and purpose, is to pay attention to how you come across that website. In many of this year’s travel scams that relied on copycat websites, scammers used social media ads to lure people. The ads directed visitors to fake websites where they were offered different travel services. The ultimate purpose was to determine people to make a payment or at least register their credit cards while creating an account. Another way these fake ads and websites worked was by allowing scammers to infiltrate users’ computers to steal their credentials and personal information through malicious software.
Looking For The Red Flags
Scammers also adopted a different tactic to speed up the process. They have reached out to people directly by messaging them on social media platforms and luring them with good deals for accommodation or airline tickets. This is also one of the major red flags to watch out for in order to avoid travel scams. Another red flag are unsolicited calls during which the alleged travel agent asks you for your bank details and personal information.
Besides trying to spot red flags, another method to avoid travel scams is to book directly through airlines or hotels. This is a more cautious method compared to booking services through travel agencies, especially if the entire process is carried out exclusively online. And if you book through an agency, to make sure you’re not dealing with a fake website, look around for more details about the respective company online. Check out if the website has a contact section with a clear address, read their terms and conditions, as well as the cancellation and refund policy. A legitimate website should have these sections and a clear cancelation and refund policy.
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