Computer Crime: Identity Theft, Misuse of Personal Information, and How to Protect Yourself (Tawny Walsh, Irina Lohina, Renair Jackson, Jahmele Betterson, Saray Vilayhane)
Technology as constant source of convenience
Modern society is becoming increasingly reliant
Errands online = No privacy
Personal information becomes compromised and exposed to computer crime
Identity Theft via Medical Records
Malware defined as
programs written with the intent of being disruptive or damaging to (the user of) a computer or other electronic device; viruses, worms, spyware, etc., collectively.
Malware be gone!
Removal of unwanted viruses
Remove viruses promptly
Restore computer easily and
How to detect “Malicious software” and protect computer
Protect and secure private information
Technet solutions to protect yourself against Malware
Keep your computer’s software patched and current.
Only download updates from reputable sources.
Always think before you install something, weigh the risks and benefits, and be aware of the fine print.
Install and use a firewall.
Prevention is always better than a cure !
2. Phishing and Pharming
Phishing and Pharming are ways that predators gain access to your
personal information, like bank account info and social security
numbers, through your email and web browser.
Phishing is a method of online identity theft through email.
Pharming is a method of identity theft by way of email and web browser.
To protect yourself
Don’t click on links within emails that ask for your personal information.
Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen.
Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall—remember to keep them up to date.
Only open email attachments if you’re expecting them.
Phishing isn’t just through email, but can also happen by phone so be wary of unknown callers asking for personal information.
If someone contacts you and says you’ve been a victim of fraud, verify the person’s identity before you provide any personal information.
Be careful and aware of pharming—when you go to a site and are redirected to a “copy cat site”. This is another way that your personal info is taken.
3. Bank Fraud
Online banking versus Traditional Banking – Convenience
Banks can save on operating costs.
Popularization has caused fraudulent bank activity.
Banks have learned how to better safeguard, but with no guarantee.
Two-step process: 1) get your info, then 2) use it to move money
Popular fraud schemes to obtain personal information
"Phishing" scheme: stems from the two words "password" and "fishing." It entails sending email scams and mail supposedly from the consumer's bank as a way to obtain the consumer's personal information, social insurance number, and in this case their online banking username and password.
"Trojan Horse" scheme: unfolds when malicious software (malware) embeds to a consumer's computer without the consumer being aware of it.
To protect yourself
Do not release your account or card numbers when shopping online if there are other payment options available.
Examples: Paypal ; SunTrust Bank program Verified by Visa ; ShopSafe by Bank of America
Monitor your credit. For example, use Privacy Assist Premier by Bank of America.
Never share your passwords or PINs with anyone
To Protect Yourself - continued
Never leave your computer unattended while using any online banking or investing service
Sign off completely when you are finished banking online
Use only secure sites (look for the padlock icon usually located at the bottom of the Web page)
Keep anti-virus software up to date
4. Identity Theft via Medical Records
Just as vulnerable as credit card information
Medical records hold very sensitive information
Records aren’t stored traditionally
Technology and Systems
As technology advances so does storing information
Records are now stored in computer systems
Patients are able to access records online
Medical facilities and doctor’s offices use wireless networks
Many don’t realize how vulnerable these systems and networks are
Identity Theft through Medical Records
Hacking and Phishing
Thieves steal data from systems and wireless networks
Reasons for medical identity theft
Danger to both parties
Prevention and Detection
No 100% guarantee of protection
Requires constant monitoring and response
Patients should keep a copy of medical records
Many states are working on ‘patient alert’ legislation
Malware, phishing and pharming are all serious threats to consumer safety
Safeguards put forth are valuable tools
Understand the vulnerability of sensitive information in our connected world
Be vigilant in the protection of their own sensitive data
Consumers need not suffer from identity theft before learning how to protect themselves