Unfortunately, exposure to cybercrime is one of the hidden costs associated with the use of the Internet. It’s not fair – but that’s the way it is.
Cybercriminals have jumped (as expected), on Super Sunday, and are already exploiting this annual event. It’s hardly surprising then, that security experts are predicting record-breaking numbers of Super Sunday related online threats, and cyber attacks.
Cybercriminals are experts at exploiting our curiosity surrounding current events through social engineering , and according to PC Tools, Stephanie Edwards, “Whenever there is a major event, like Super Sunday, we see this kind of increased activity.”
Given the frequency of cybercriminal activity on social networking sites, (designed, in part, to drop malicious code on computers), users need to be aware that the use of social media sites demands an extra degree of caution.
From the Web:
Ad Age predicts that advertisers will use social media at record levels to fan the flames of their ads. Increased numbers of fake ads targeting young males will appear in popular forums and sites. These ads featuring attractive women or cheerleaders encourage people to click on the links which may take them to suspicious or malicious websites.
A “drive-by attack” can occur when a link is inserted onto popular video sharing websites that promise users access to Super Sunday commercials. If a user clicks on the link, they may be redirected to ads not related to Super Sunday or in more extreme cases, users’ personal information may be taken unknowingly through malicious system exploits.
In addition to attacking users, hackers are increasingly targeting legitimate fan and sports websites through redirected links or ads. A football fan scanning the latest sports updates may unknowingly have malware downloading through interactive animations on the page.
Internet users are not entirely at the mercy of cybercriminals, and can take relatively effective steps to protect themselves from being victimized. You may want to review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected computer system:
- When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
- Install an Internet Browser security add-on such as WOT , which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.
- Don’t open unknown email attachments
- Don’t run programs of unknown origin
- Disable hidden filename extensions
- Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
- Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
- Disable scripting features in email programs
- Make regular backups of critical data
- Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
- Turn off file and printer sharing on your computer.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer.
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.
- Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments.
- Consider running your system in a “virtual environment. You can search this site with the keywords “virtual environment” which will produce a listing of articles covering both free, and commercial, virtual applications and add-ons.
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