Internet threats – keeping yourself safe online


Today we make more decisions online than ever before, from sharing sensitive business information to ordering clothes and keeping in touch with friends. While this has injected new levels of convenience to the lives of billions of people worldwide, there remains a lingering threat online. This threat comes in many forms, such as cyber criminals looking collect your personal information for fraudulent purposes. This article serves as a brief education in fraud online, highlighting some of the methods cyber criminals often use to collect sensitive personal data, so that you can protect yourself online.

m Phishing

Phishing is a method of online fraud that has caused issues for a number of years. Two types are the most common:

  1. Emails are first sent in the name of a well-known company such as a bank, internet provider or well-known online shop. In these emails, recipients are usually prompted under a false pretense to follow a link to “update” their personal information, such as their address or account details. Sophisticated phishing emails have emails and landing pages that look deceptively genuine, but their only purpose is to steal your data for fraudulent purposes
  2. Billing reminders are another form of phishing. Sent by email, these inform the recipient of an “outstanding invoice”. To pressure a response they usually contain threats of billing fees and legal consequences of not responding. Further details about the outstanding invoice are allegedly included in the attached appendix. However this attached file sometimes contains a virus that can steal your data and spam your computer

How to protect yourself: If you receive an email that seems strange and unsolicited, check the website of your bank or online provider for instructions on how to proceed when you forget your password. Secondly, contact the respective customer service of your bank or internet provider. It can also be helpful to Google the subject of the email or the sender. In most cases a casual web search can quickly highlight a common scam. If in any doubt don’t click any links or open unsolicited attachments.

You can find more information on phishing and how to protect your data at 1&1 here.

Fraudulent adverts

“Congratulations! You are the 1 millionth visitor of this website and have won a holiday to Bali! Click here to collect your prize.”

On some websites, a colorful box repeatedly flashes, which promises exactly that. In reality, there is no prize. Its purpose is simply to collect your data and to then use it for criminal purposes.

Drive-by downloads

This type of download occurs without the knowledge or consent of the user. By clicking on a button or by opening a website, a virus, malicious software or similar threat is downloaded automatically. Before you notice that a download is starting, it is already too late and the malicious file is saved down to your computer. In order to avoid any damage, it is important to have robust anti-virus software and to update your internet browser on a regular basis. Make sure you know where links lead and which unknown files you are downloading or opening to keep yourself safe.

Small businesses and the self-employed can be subject to a significant amount of downtime and damage from cyber-attacks, so users should be extra vigilant for online treats in order to protect their businesses and IT infrastructure. More details on securing your business from cyberattacks can be found here.

You can find more information about our security offers here.

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