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Phishing Scams During the Holiday Season

With holiday’s right around the corner, this makes for a scammer’s perfect opportunity to conduct phishing scams. Researchers have stated that this year, phishing scams are going to increase significantly. More phishing scams are done via mobile devices, making it easier than ever to have your information stolen. But how do we protect ourselves during this vulnerable time? 

 

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are intensified during the holiday season due to the high traffic of online shoppers and the urge for people to look for deals. One popular way scammers do this is by sending emails or text messages about an offer that is too good to be passed up. For example, they list a popular technology device for cheap. Most people would just look at the price and proceed with the scam. Another scam is when they mimic bigger companies online to get credit card information or being able to log onto the device when a certain URL is clicked. These mainly happen through emails. They might send an email about a recent fake purchase to get you to click on the URL. These scams are going unnoticed and can do lots of harm. It is important to know how to prevent these scams and protect your information. 

 

Prevention 

It is inevitable that these scams will make their way to you. One way to identify a scam is to check the grammar of the message. Usually scams will be misspelled or the message came from a third party source. This is the easiest way to quickly identify the scam. 

 

Be cautious about providing personal information such as phone numbers or credit card numbers. Make sure before you provide information that it is a reliable and trustworthy source. 

 

If a phishing scam is sent to you, it is best to not respond. A response to these scams lets the scammer know you are a ‘real’ person and will likely be targeted again. If this does happen, there is an option to report the scam to the Spam Reporting Service. 

 

Holidays make for a great time to buy gifts for loved ones, but this also means it is more likely to come across a phishing scam. It is important to know how to identify the scam and how to prevent and protect yourself. 

 

Scams can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself. 

Westec- Tips for Safe Computing

Helpful Tips for Safe Computing

As our society leans more on technology, the opportunities for threats to interfere continue to increase. Safe computing requires more user awareness than ever before as well as maintenance of passwords and data security.

Here are a few tips on how you can keep your information safe online:

 

Secure your passwords. 

Password hacking is the easiest way for anyone to access your information and cause damage. Switch up your password on each website you use, store them in a safe place, and be sure to change them frequently for the most security. Include both uppercase and lowercase, symbols, and numbers for the most difficult-to-guess passwords.

 

Automatically download important updates.

Updates such as MacOS are critical to the integrity of your computer and should therefore be completed as soon as they become available. Adjust your updates in settings to download automatically.

 

Never access sensitive websites on public WiFi.

Westec - Safe Computing

Your data could be easily copied or stolen on a sensitive network. In addition, do not access or share sensitive data on unreliable networks. 

 

Be aware of phishing attempts. 

Never open an email from someone you do not know. If there is a link or document attached in the email, absolutely do not open it. Hackers often use this to automatically download malware onto your computer when opened and to access your information or ruin it altogether.

 

Back up your important information onto an external drive. 

Whether it be a full backup hard drive or a flash drive, secure sensitive data onto a protected drive in case of emergency and for extra protection. 


Don’t let yourself become the next hacked credit card or identity theft. Practice safe computing and protect your valuable information with the security it deserves. WesTec Services is a trusted and experienced IT services provider located in the Houston area. Allow us to keep your data safe by giving us a call today or visiting our website.

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

A Password meter is an indicator of the strength of a password entered by a user on a website. In most cases, meters estimate the amount of tries necessary for your password to be guessed by an attacker by factoring in password length and complexity. A University of Plymouth study tested 16 of the most encountered password meters on the internet to test their effectiveness. Based on the results, here are a few tips on how to keep your passwords secure, regardless of an “approval” given by the password meter:  

Do not always trust the password meter

  Just because a password meter says “strong password” does not mean it is. The meters can be helpful but are also extremely flawed, giving you a sense of false security. When deciding on a password, do not base it solely on the rating given by the website.   

Avoid using keyboard patterns

  On many password meters, passwords such as “querty”,  “abc123”, and “Password” sometimes cannot be detected as problematic. Common letter combinations, such as going down a row of the keyword or commonly used words, are easily guessed and not always flagged on the meters.   Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Make passwords complicated and personal

  The most secure passwords are those with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Choose combinations that seem difficult to guess by an outside person or computer. The more complicated and seemingly random the password, the stronger it will be.
  In addition to character variation, do not use the same password for all of your accounts. Change up your passwords so that if one is discovered, not all of your information is at risk. 
  Secure your valuable data with the protection it deserves. Do you part to protect your information with a strong password, WesTec is here to do the rest. WesTec Services is dedicated to providing the highest quality of IT consulting as well as backup disaster and recovery planning. Give WesTecCall a call today to discover more about our available services.   

What is Phishing?

Phishing is defined as a cyber attack that uses disguised emails as weapons. Hackers try to trick email recipients into clicking links or attachments they designed to steal personal information.

What is Phishing?

Here’s an analogy to better understand: Imagine a fisherman baiting a hook and tossing it into a lake in hopes of getting a bite. If a fish bites, the fisherman reels it in. But, if it doesn’t, the fisherman fails and the fish keeps swimming. Phishing is the same way. A cybercriminal can only gain access to your accounts or information if you fall for the bait. For example, a hacker might design an email disguised as your bank telling you your account has been compromised. They ask you to click on a link to verify your identity. If you click on the link and fill out the information, you have now provided them with the information to access your finances.

Types of Phishing

Hackers attempt to get victims to do one of two things to get what they want. Some cybercriminals try to trick you into giving up your information. This is similar to the bank example above. Other hackers prefer to have you download malware. Often, these types of emails will include a download attachment, often a .zip file or Microsoft document, embedded with malicious code.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks

If you know how to spot a phishing attempt, you can avoid compromising your data and report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Here are the steps you can follow to confirm the identity of an email sender:
  • Always check the spelling of URLs in email links before you click
  • Watch out for URL redirects, where hackers sent you to a different website with identical design
  • If you receive a suspicious email from a source you know, contact them with a new email, rather than replying
To learn more about how you can protect your data and sensitive information, contact the experts at WesTec.

Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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Houston, TX 77018


(713) 682-4000

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