It has been brought to my attention on many occasions that I care too much about people that I end up pushing them away because that person feels its not necessary or they believe things will never happen to them. Reality check people we can all become victims to many things including: terrorism, murder, burglary, identify theft, scams, bullying and the list will go on and on. Just because we are not celebrities or a public figure doesn’t mean we are the ones people will never find or consider when contemplating their plot. We are all potential victims, BUT we can prevent ourselves from becoming a victim by practicing simple countermeasures.
How often do you find yourself “Liking”, then “Sharing”, that Walt Disney World free trip contest on Facebook because it tells you to and because it says Walt Disney World in the title it must be true. WRONG! The last one I saw was obviously a fake because how many Walt Disney World Facebook pages do you know have less than 10,000 likes, only posts a few photos and was recently created this week? These are obvious signs that a Facebook page is fake. Wait a minute, are you saying that there are people out there who create fake pages and would try to scam me out of my information? I am not sure how to tell you this without being straight forward with you but YES!
First thing first, most social media sights have implemented a “Verified” measure that identifies highly visible businesses and public figures with a Check mark on their page that identifies them as being legit. These big time business have to supply certain information in order to verify who they say they are. These businesses and public figures also have to abide by strict rules when it comes to posting contests because certain verbiage is required from a legal standpoint for it to be in compliance with FB standards. If you see a Facebook page that doesn’t have the “Blue Check mark” next to their name, and they are known world-wide, they are more than likely fake especially if they are offering you money, prizes or some monetary objects for engaging on their page.
Have we become that blind to spam and scams that we are willing to share these pages with our friends possibly placing them in jeopardy of falling victim to these scam artists? We have no problem sharing a video, quotes from websites, funny pictures, and many other useless stuff that does nothing more than entertain us, but do we take even 2 seconds to determine whether or not sharing it could cause harm to those you share it with?
Being in the military has its advantages because we train continuously on Cyber-terrorism and we see first hand sometimes, from the experts, some of the various things that happen that result in people’s identities being stolen or even bank accounts drained. This is not a joke people but I would venture to say that 80% of people don’t care because they feel they are invincible to cyber threats. Those who think that are either belittling themselves thinking they are not worth going after or are just blind to the true understanding to the effects of cyber threats. Either way if you feel you are this type of person you are more likely to fall victim to a cyber attack than a celebrity.
My Commanding Officer just came back from a Cyber-terrorism conference and was educated on a recent incident that occurred at, of all places, an airport. How can someone steal data at any airport? You are probably thinking because they used the Wi-Fi or maybe a credit card at a suspect kiosk. Well you would be wrong. They walked up to one of those “Charging Stations” to charge their phone because their battery was running low. Some people plug directly into the walls using their own chargers but this person decided to use the supplied charging station for its convenience. Well little did they know that Malware was installed on a device within the charging station that when a person plugged their phone in the malware was uploaded to their phones without them knowing. How is this possible? I am glad you asked. Cables that transfer data and charge phones have 4 lines. Two for charging and two for data. Once he plugged into the charging station those data lines were used to upload the software. For someone reason when this person returned to work they plugged their phone into their workstation (This is a no-no at any military facility) and the second he did that the Malware was then uploaded into the military network mainframe. Needless to say the Cyber teams went right to work when all those alarms started going off.
So you see we all must educate ourselves in the numerous practices in countering against cyber-terrorism. There are many websites, from legitimate companies, as well as training seminars at most businesses where we can learn that numerous techniques used to scam us. Take the time to learn about these methods so you do not become a victim. Sign up for credit monitoring so if someone gets a hold of your information they can’t open accounts in your name. It may seem like a lot of money to buy into these services but how much will it costs you to recover money from your bank accounts, credit cards and identify theft when someone becomes you and you now have to prove that you are who you say you are. Don’t wait for something to happen because EVERYONE is vulnerable if you allow yourself to be.
Remember that you sharing something could be hurting your friends more than you are helping them. Think before you click!