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Hackers Target Text Messages

Hackers are making a new push at breaching your information through text messages. Their content is similar to phishing emails: your billing, delivery information, etc. It’s time to increase your awareness.

Text messages are attractive targets for anyone trying to get personal information. The key reasons are:

  • We’re not always on-guard when we look at texts.
  • We’re not familiar with the names, abbreviations or phone numbers that texters use.
  • We’re usually busy multitasking when we look at texts – and emails – on our phones.

I almost fell victim to a fake text earlier this year. It came from VZN, which looked like Verizon Wireless at first glance while trying to do a number of things at one time. It didn’t cross my mind at the time that Verizon Wireless uses VZW as its abbreviation. It offered a gift in appreciation of my business. I opened it before I realized what was going on, but fortunately, I didn’t click any links.

Just opening a text likely won’t hurt you; it’s clicking links and then providing a password. Sometimes, the link will install ransomware, and of course, providing a password is like handing someone a key to your vault.

Your computer is still a target. In the 2001-2007 era, Microsoft Windows was the No. 1 security target for hackers. Today’s Windows is still vulnerable to attacks, but today’s No. 1 target is all Apple-based computers and devices. It’s not surprising because Apple products have so many users, and that includes iCloud for storage.

We can’t emphasize enough that good security starts with a mirror. You are the No. 1 point of failure.  We all tend to use cheap, easy-to-remember passwords that involve dates or other information easily found in public records. Dates, for example, have a pattern, and sophisticated hacking software can eventually figure out the pattern. One solution is to add more digits – but don’t add them sequentially. Scatter them and use special characters, too.

Again, a password manager is a highly effective tool to strengthen internet security. The best managers let you use all platforms (computers and other devices, multiple operating systems, etc.), and they have subscription plans that cover entire families. If you subscribe to one, you’ll have to do the work to configure it and then maintain it. And, of course, you must never lose your master password. Recovery may not be possible – and it certainly will be difficult.

We can help businesses and families with training sessions about installing and using good security procedures. The sessions typically last an hour or so, including time for Q&A, where we can really address the real-life issues we all face. In-person training is more effective because we can actually help you take security steps with your devices.

Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up a security training session at your home or office.

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