You have one identity and one social security number. Every minute of every hour, hackers are looking for new ways to gain access to your personal information. Did you know that credit card numbers are the most popular item for sale on the underground economy?i Or that last year, approximately 8.4 million U.S. residents fell victim to identity theft?ii Knowing how hackers obtain this information is key to protecting this valuable information.
Hackers obtain your personal information in a variety of ways:
Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses, and Key Loggers
Viruses, worms, trojan horses, and key loggers are collectively known as malware. Malware can be installed on your computer by opening an infected e-mail attachment, downloading an infected file, or by visiting an infected website. With new malware being discovered every day, it’s imperative to have an up-to-date security program installed on your computer.
Exploits in your Operating System
Hackers are constantly looking for exploits or “holes” in your operating system. That’s why it is so important you set your operating system to automatically download and install critical updates.
Internet File-Sharing Program
File-sharing programs work by opening up your computer to the Internet to share music, movies, and other content, with millions of other Internet users. However, opening up your computer can also put it at greater risk for virus infection and hacking. In addition to movies and music, it can expose your tax returns, bank statements, or other confidential documents to share with complete strangers – depending on how it is configured. There is also a risk of copyright infringement. For both reasons, it’s wise to protect yourself and your computer by avoiding most file sharing programs.
E-mails impersonating individuals or companies for the purpose of obtaining personal information such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc. are known as phishing scams. While phishing scams can, at times, be difficult to detect, they often contain the following traits:
- Request sensitive information.
- Uses a generic greeting.
- Creates a sense of urgency.
- States something "bad" will happen if you don’t respond.
- Includes spelling/grammatical errors.
Remember, most legitimate companies would never ask for sensitive account information via an unsecured method such as email. When in doubt, contact the company to verify if the email is legitimate. Charter Communications will never ask you to confirm your identity or provide payment via email.
Protect Your Computer
Did you know that 81% of home computers lack at least one of the three critical protections – updated virus software, spyware protection and a secure firewall?iii Don’t leave your computer vulnerable to hackers and criminals. Be sure your computer is protected with the Charter Security Suite™. The Charter Security Suite™ helps protect your computer from today’s threats. Best of all, the Charter Security Suite™ is easy to use and included with your Charter Internet™ Plus or Ultra service. You even have the ability to download it on multiple computers within your home.† To download and learn more about the Charter Security Suite™, visit charter.com/security.
i. Fossi, M. (Eds.), Johnson, E. (Eds.), Mack, T. (Eds.), Turner, D. (Eds.), Blackbird, J. (Eds.), Low, M.K. (Eds.), & et al. (2009, April). Symantec Global Internet Security Threat Report Trends for 2008. [Electronic Version] p. 9
ii. Fossi, M. (Eds.), Johnson, E. (Eds.), Mack, T. (Eds.), Turner, D. (Eds.), Blackbird, J. (Eds.), Low, M.K. (Eds.), & et al. (2009, April). Symantec Global Internet Security Threat Report Trends for 2008. [Electronic Version] p. 9
iii. F-Secure Security Labs, 2008
†Charter Security Suite is available at no additional cost for Charter Internet Plus and Ultra customers. Charter does not guarantee data will be secure.
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