Cyber-Attacks: Don’t Be Fooled By Internet Foes

Trusting other online

One of today’s most effective cyber-attack methods is to take advantage of the human tendency to trust.

Social engineering, a form of psychological manipulation where an attacker cons users into divulging information or doing something they want the user to do, can occur through phone calls, email, text messaging, social media and online chats.

Indicators of social engineering attacks include:

  • A tremendous sense of urgency, or pressure to make a quick decision
  • Someone asking for information they should already know
  • Something too good to be true

To avoid social engineering attacks, never share your passwords and don’t share too much personal information on social media, which can give attackers information to mislead you. If someone asks for something personal, verify their contact information first.

Viruses, Trojans, Worms… Oh My!


Once you recognize that the word “malware” is a combination of “malicious” and “software,” the definition speaks for itself.

Cybercriminals use malware to infect and control computers and phones, in hopes of gathering sensitive data, stealing logins and passwords, displaying unwanted advertising or stealing identities.

Follow these steps to help protect your electronics from malware:

  • Enable automatic security updates
  • Beware of phishing attacks
  • Enable automatic anti-virus scans of portable media (e.g. USB sticks) with real-time protection
  • Heed anti-virus warnings
  • Never disable anti-virus software for the sake of speed, space or website access
  • Install trusted anti-virus software on your personal computers and smartphones

You can also protect your device with Norton Security products.

Do You Know The Keys To Creating A Strong Password?


A password unlocks a kingdom of information — yet people often make themselves vulnerable to cyber attack by using weak passwords.

To create better passwords, use these password safety tips:

  • Use at least 12 upper and lowercase letters, symbols and special characters
  • Make an acronym out of a memorable sentence: My 1st son was born at Atlanta Hospital at 2:30pm= M1swb@AH@2:30pm
  • Don’t use personal information easily found from a Google search or social media
  • Don’t store your passwords in a Word document or on paper
  • Use different passwords for each account
  • Never share your password
  • Avoid logging into accounts on public computers or unsecured WiFi

If you believe your password has been compromised, change your password right away. If you need help, contact EarthLink Support.

Cell Phones: The Risks You Should Know About

Risks of cell phones

These days, most of us can’t live without our cell phone. However, it can be dangerous to be attached to a device without knowing how it can be hacked. Some security concerns include dangerous app downloads and changes to default settings.

iPhones: WhileApple is known for tight security measures and therefore safer security measures on its cell phones, some users may be tempted to jailbreak their iPhones to get around restrictions. Jailbreaking is not recommended because it invalidates iPhone’s warranty, renders Apple’s security measures useless, can cause crashing and instability, and may even “brick” or freeze the phone.

Androids: To offer more freedom, Google allows users to download cell phone apps from outside the Play Store. But this opens users to risk, as attackers can try to distribute malicious apps.

  • Avoid apps from outside the Play Store
  • Scan apps outside the Play Store for malware before installing
  • Enable the “Verify Applications” setting to regularly scan for malicious apps (even apps from the Play Store)
  • Be suspicious of apps that ask for excess permissions