on October 11, 2017
If you’ve been anywhere near a TV set or a newspaper in the last few weeks, there’s no doubt you’re aware of the massive data breach of Equifax – one of the country’s three major consumer credit bureaus. Over 143 million records are suspected to have been exposed – meaning about half of Americans are facing an increased risk of identity fraud.
These highly-public data breaches heighten our awareness of the ongoing security risk of our personal data, but we are consistently under attack on our own devices. If your computer is connected to a network it is at risk. A recent study suggested that hackers are attempting to hack personal computers every 39 seconds. Many of these attacks are designed to install malicious software (or “Malware”) on individual computers in an effort to capture personal information – whether it’s yours or someone else’s.
Heimdal Security, a leading producer of cybersecurity software, captures on average 230,000 samples of Malware a day – and it doesn’t stop just stop with your computer. Proofpoint observed and profiled an attack on home network routers and connected devices such as multimedia centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator.
One hallmark of Malware is that it is often downloaded onto a computer or into a network without computer users’ knowledge. Phishing emails – messages that look and feel like they come from a trusted sender – can contain links or attachments that can automatically install a program in the background functionality of your machine. Additionally, malicious websites that duplicate familiar e-commerce or financial institution websites may also download applications when you navigate to them on your Internet browser.
Malware presents with a variety of sophistication and intent, some of the most common used to perpetrate identity theft include:
Hackers and identity thieves are constantly reinventing and improving their tools. Keeping your personal data safe requires continued vigilance. Here are a few tips to reducing your risk:
Our Online Data Protection software, available as part of our comprehensive identity theft protection program, includes anti-keylogging software that scrambles keystrokes and confuses malware designed to track what you type. It also includes anti-phishing software that works with your browser to alert you to suspicious websites built to capture your logins, passwords, and other sensitive information.
Our identity protection program can monitor your information on the deep and dark web where stolen data is bought and sold by identity thieves. If we ever notice that your information may have fallen into the wrong hands, we can alert you and help you take action quickly – reducing your risk for fraud.