Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CYBER SECURITY- Three Ways Criminals Can Get into your Computer

The AARP Fraud Watch Network and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office have begun a statewide educational campaign on cyber security. On May 12, AARP hosted a Cyber Security event at the Museum of Flight in Seattle where over 200 consumers listened to various experts talk about different aspects of cyber security.

During that event, the audience viewed three videos that demonstrated the capabilities of criminals to enter your PC, laptop, tablet or Smartphone. Three methods that criminals can use to break into your computerized device include:

  1. The Evil Twin Attack. A hacker will set up shop in or near a coffee shop, hotel, or airport where there is free Wi-Fi. The hacker will set up a fake access point and might use the same name as the coffee shop or hotel or it might be named “free airport Wi-Fi” or “free hotel Wi-Fi.” The fake access point will have a signal that may be stronger than the legitimate access point. The hacker can lurk in the background to collect id’s and passwords or he can have a message sent to your device telling you that you need to pay for access in an attempt to collect your bankcard information. So, if you are expecting free Wi-Fi and are asked to pay for it, get off of that access point. Watch this video for more information on the Evil Twin Attack:

  1. War Driving. A hacker will drive through a neighborhood with his portable computer or smartphone and special software that can detect the active Wi-Fi access points. The hacker is looking for access points that use older and weaker security protocols such as WEP. The newest protocol is WPA2. Check your router for the security protocol and make sure that it uses WPA2. If you cannot change the protocol in the router’s settings, purchase a new router. Watch this video for more information on War Driving:

  1. “Man-in-the-middle” Attack. A hacker inserts himself between your computer and any other computers that you are communicating with. By receiving your signal, the hacker can intercept any passwords or account numbers that you might be using. This attack can be used with free or unsecured Wi-Fi connections. For more information about the Man-in-the-middle Attack, take a look at this video:

Here are some recommendations to protect your from these attacks?

  • Treat all Wi-Fi signals with suspicion.
  • Consider using your cell phone. The data signal for your cell phone provider is considered safe from intruders. If you need to access a social networking, online shopping or banking site, use your cell phone’s data plan.
  • Protect you device against cyber-attacks. All of your devices should have up to date anti-malware and anti-virus software.
  • Conduct private business privately. Do not access your sensitive credit card or bank accounts from a free Wi-Fi access point. Do this business from your own secure network.
  • Change your settings. Change the settings of your device so that it does not automatically connect to any nearby Wi-Fi network. This way you will be more aware of what networks you are connected to.
  • Turn off your wireless network when you are not using it.
  • Use encryption. Encryption encodes transmitted data so that strangers cannot see what is transmitted. Currently, there are two encryption protocols available to Wi-Fi networks: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) which is out of date and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) with WPA2 being the newest version of this protocol. Be sure to use WPA2.

AARP Fraud Watch Network Shady Signals Report:



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