Cyber Safety Tip of the Week (May 14, 2018)
KnowBe4 Tip of the Week: “Safe” Email Attachments
You may already be aware that you should not open email attachments with an extension such as “.exe”, but did you know that even PDFs or Word Documents can be rendered unsafe to open? Opening these attachments from senders with malicious intent can cause your computer (and any networks to which you are connected) to be compromised, hacked or even riddled with ransomware.
What are the unsafe file types to look out for? This question is better answered by listing file types that are generally considered to be safe to open. The truth is that most file types are at risk of being “booby-trapped” to attack your computer or device. The general rule is to NEVER open any email attachment if you do not know who it came from or why you received it
You should always be on guard with any email attachments that are not .TXT files.
How can I tell if an attachment is safe to open?
- Ask yourself: Was I expecting to receive this attachment, and did it come from who I would expect it to come from? Check email addresses for any “red flags” that may indicate the email address has been spoofed or faked.
- Never open an email attachment if you don’t recognize the sender that it came from.
- If you recognize the person or email address sending you the file, but it was still unexpected, contact them first through a different form of communication (such as by phone) to ask them if they intended to send you the file.
Stop Look Think – Don’t be fooled!
How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks
Note: teachers and staff are strongly urged to stay off of shopping sites and social networks while using District supplied laptops or desktops (this is especially true when using devices outside of the District). These types of sites promote computer viruses, along with types of malware, spyware,and ransomeware that could negatively impact your computer and jeopardize your data.
The tax and vacation seasons are a prime time for phishing attacks. Scammers will attempt to gain access to your personal information, eg., credit/debit card information, bank account information, your social security number, etc., by posing as legitimate companies or sites, emails, or even telephone contacts. Scammers can even hold your data hostage, i.e., “ransomeware”; in this case, the user’s data is encrypted and held hostage. In order to decrypt the data, a ransome is demanded by the scammers.
The attached post lists nine tips from Kapersky Labs, a leading anti-virus company, to protect yourself from phishing attacks.
Symantec Corp., manufacturer of Norton Antivirus, has a lot of useful information concerning cyber security, virus protection, and child internet safety on their Internet Security website.
Microsoft also has a very good tutorial and FAQ on ransomeware.
Also…a new ransomeware threat-
This article recently appeared in the Southern Chester County Weeklies and really hits home:
How to Avoid Being Scammed
To avoid being scammed or — perhaps, worse — having your phone number added to additional robocall lists, follow these tips from the BBB:
- Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize (duh).
- If you do answer and are asked questions that seem to be fishing for a “yes” or “no” answer, do not respond and hang up immediately.
- Never give out any personal information over the phone when you are unsure of the caller (also obvious but worth repeating).
- Make a note of the number and report it to BBB Scam Tracker to help warn others.
- As always, check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges.
You can also report suspicious or unwanted calls to the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry and register your home and mobile numbers for free to avoid or at least lessen the frequency with which you receive unsolicited calls.