We know about the Nigerian banking scam, the fake antivirus scam and many more that have been cluttering up our inboxes for the last couple of years. But what threats should you be looking out for in 2013? Here are four ones to watch.
Cyber criminals are moving from appeals for cash to actively intimidating you. Visit an unsecure site or open a dodgy email and you could end up with malware that locks your computer. You’ll then see a screen, probably including law enforcement imagery, saying that your computer’s been used for illegal activity and demanding payment before you can regain control of your computer. If you’re infected, don’t pay the ransom (the scammers won’t unlock your computer anyway). You could get your computer cleaned by an IT professional, but it may be cheaper to invest in security software first.
Mobile adware is becoming more of a nuisance – and it’s likely to get worse long before it gets better. Madware is often downloaded along with an app, especially on mobile devices and not only presents you with an aggressive range of ads, but may also attempt to gather your personal details. Always think twice before downloading apps from sources you don’t know.
- Social scams
As the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social media grows, so the scammers follow the money. Beware of messages with embedded links which seem to come from your ‘friends’, especially if they’re asking you to sign up to seemingly worthy causes like charities or social concerns – they may be designed to drop your guard so the scammers can take you to a phishing site or install malware.
- Mobile scams
As more of us use our mobiles to make payments, and to hold our payment details, our mobiles are becoming more of a target than ever for cyber criminals. If you’re using NFC (Near Field Communication) to make payments on your new smartphone, make sure it’s turned off when not in use – criminals are developing technology to use NFC to extract your payment details. Always make sure you lock your phone, and if possible, adjust your settings to wipe your phone’s memory if it’s lost or stolen.