Consumer Awareness

Cybercriminal activity around the globe continues at an alarming rate.  Computer hackers from around the world are constantly deploying new malicious software attacks.  In the last couple of years, we have seen numerous Point of Sale (POS) systems compromised by various versions of the “Backoff” virus and other well known companies were breached putting vital, non-public information at risk.

With new stories being written every day on cyber security, it is even more important now to be aware of the different types of electronic attacks that could affect you.  Some of these attacks are:

Ransomware – is a type of malware designed to infect a computer and restricts access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.  With this type of malware, hackers attempt to extort money from the victim by displaying an on-screen alert like “Your computer has been locked….” and to gain access a ransom must be paid.  Ransomware is typically spread through phishing emails containing malicious attachments.  If you are affected by ransomware, do not pay the ransom.  Paying the ransom does not guarantee the release of your computer or that the malware has been removed.  It only guarantees that the individuals behind the malicious attack receive the victim’s money.

Malware – Malicious software is any kind of software designed to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems.  Warning – cybercriminals may try to trick you into downloading fake security software.  Be cautious of links in email or websites offering free software, especially antivirus.

Spyware – is a type of malware (malicious software) installed on a computer’s hard drive that collects information about users without their knowledge.  It can make changes to your computer that can be annoying and cause your computer to slow down or crash.  These programs can change your web browser’s home page, search page, or add additional components to your browser that you don’t want or need.

Phishing – is a type of online identity theft that uses emails or text messages to trick a user to visit a fraudulent website designed to steal personal information such as your social security number or bank account information.  Phishing emails or text messages may contain grammatical errors and request personal information with phrases like “Verify your account” or “During regular account maintenance”.

Vishing – is similar to Phishing and is a way to obtain bank account or credit card information using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).  An automated message is left saying your bank account or credit card has been compromised, depleted or closed.  The message, often from a toll free number, instructs you to call about the compromise.  When you call, you are instructed to enter your bank account or credit card number and possibly your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or social security number.

Smishing – is like Phishing and uses text messages to attempt to obtain bank account, credit card or personal information.  The text message usually requests “immediate” attention with a URL or phone number.  The phone number within the text often goes to an automated voice response system.  In most cases, a smishing message will come from a “5000” number not another cell phone. 

Pharming – is a cyber attack where hackers install malicious code on a personal computer or server for the purpose of redirecting a website’s traffic to a fake, copycat site even though the user entered the correct address.  When the user attempts to log onto the legitimate site, they are redirected to the fake site where cybercriminals can gather account or personal information.  If a website looks different from when you last visited, be cautious until you are absolutely certain the site is safe.

Spam – “Electronic Junk Mail” is the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited, often commercial, bulk messages indiscriminately through the internet.

It is each person’s responsibility to make sure their individual personal computer is constantly updated with the latest MAC or Microsoft patches. We can no longer depend on someone else to make our personal computers safe. Your personal computer should be protected by a Spyware/Antivirus vendor who updates your protection daily. Failure to do so could result in identity theft due to loss of personal data.

Note: Home City Federal Savings Bank will NEVER request your personal information through an email or text message.  If you receive a request for personal information from “Home City Federal”, please contact us immediately at 937-390-0470.  We believe in always providing the highest level of information security to our customers.

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