Monday, November 21, 2016 7:25 am, Posted by Absolute Destruction
The services we provide here at Absolute Destruction help you keep your physical documents and electronic devices out of the hands of thieves, and it’s an integral step in maintaining your personal and commercial privacy. But we know better than to think physical theft is the only way fraudsters attempt to get your confidential information. In an increasingly digital world, Canadians have to be careful with how (and with whom) they share their information online. While the Internet is full of legitimate sites you can safely visit to your heart’s content, you do need to surf with caution. You can unknowingly become the victim of a cyber scam. Keep reading to learn more about the most common fraud schemes affecting Canadians today so you can identify and steer clear of them.
As a sophisticated malware bent on extorting money from its victims, ransomware software is passed through email attachments and other downloadable files. Once opened, its virus is spread throughout the computer and infects its files and applications with an impenetrable encryption key. Scammers offer to decrypt the corrupted files but will only return full access to the affected computer for a fee. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee these individuals will carry out their decryption once paid, so the CAFC doesn’t recommend paying to unlock a computer. The best defence is, of course, prevention. Be aware of the attachments sent in emails, especially those in .zip formats. Only ever download them if you’re expecting that particular file from a trusted source. Don’t click on pop-ups that claim your computer has a virus.
Denial of Service (DOA) Attacks
Canadian businesses are beginning to report an increase in this particular extortion scam, wherein their website or internet services are interrupted. Much like the above ransomwear, perpetrators offer to reverse the interruption for a nominal fee; however it requires much more sophisticated security measures in order to prevent. Rather than simply avoiding suspicious downloads, dynamic protocols must be in place, including attack detection, traffic analysis, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), and firewalls.
Investment Scams — AKA Boiler Room Fraud
Many of us see emails talking about lucrative business deals promising huge returns… as long as we’re willing to invest in shares and other financial assets. What sounds too good to be true is just that, as these investment opportunities are completely worthless. Unfortunately, not all of us can identify these as scams, especially those who are older.
Tax Scams — CRA Impersonators
Let’s face it — tax time can be stressful for a lot of Canadians. Organizing all of your financial comings and goings accurately takes time and a lot of know-how that some of us don’t have. The fact that we face a hard deadline when filing only adds to the strain. A well-timed phone call or email from a source pretending to be the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) can take advantage of our fears, as fraudsters will claim the victims have misfiled and now owe the government money. Perpetrators will ask for debit and credit card payments, as well as personal information over the phone or email. It’s important to remember the CRA would never ask for your contact or financial information in such a way. If you ever find yourself confronted with such a call or email, check with the CRA to see the details of your return.
Cybersecurity starts with knowledge. Knowing what to look out for can keep you safe from the most popular online threats to your privacy. Make sure you never click a link or download a file of which you can’t verify the source. Businesses should invest in appropriate security protocol to keep their servers protected and employees educated. And everyone should give us a call. These actions, plus physical security achieved with our mobile shredders, will keep your personal information private. Period.