NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Scammers know ’tis the season for online shopping and they are trying new tricks. News 2 spoke with cybersecurity experts about the increase in attacks and what you can do to protect your hard-earned money.
Inside your phone is a tiny card – called a SIM card. SIM stands for “Subscriber Identity Module.” Criminals are constantly trying to find new ways to get their hands on that tiny device, which can create big problems for you. It’s called SIM-jacking.
“So that’s where you have your device and it has a SIM card in it, and the hacker has convinced your telephone provider too that they are you. So they have now got a SIM card in their device that has your phone number, they’ve taken over your phone number,” said Weston Morris, Director Global Strategy – Digital Workplace Services at Unisys.
Protecting yourself from such an abstract idea can be overwhelming, but Morris said it’s actually pretty simple. “Well, it starts with how did they figure out to impersonate you. It’s because so much of our lives are online, on Instagram, or with Facebook, and they find out — this is your mother’s maiden name, or this is the high school you went to your high school mascot or that your favorite movie or your pet’s name, which are all of typically our secret questions,” said Morris.
Hackers collect data and use it against you. You can protect yourself with two basic steps:
- Make sure your software is up-to-date and when browsing online,
- Make sure your web address starts with HTTPS and not just HTTP.
Also, be wary of devious text messages such as this one, which reads: “You’ve got a reward from AT&T.” It fits the pattern of a so-called “smishing” scam, which uses text messages to lure you to a phishing setup aimed at getting your credit card or bank information.
Morris said he has gotten several of these messages recently. “I got a text message on my phone. And it was allegedly from AT&T, it says, ‘Hey, congratulations, being a loyal user, did you get your gift from AT&T yet? Click here.’”
AT&T has a warning on its website that says, ‘Never click on links in a text message you didn’t ask for or from a number you don’t recognize.’
Vulnerability and dangers continue to threaten home computers and phones everywhere. See what you need to do to stay safe from ransomware attacks in our Special Reports ‘Cyberattacks Hitting Home’ all day Tuesday on WKRN News 2 in every newscast and on WKRN.com.
If you do fall victim to an attack, Morris says immediately disconnect your device, re-set it and change all your passwords. Then, contact your account holder and make sure it hasn’t been compromised.