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How Hackers Attack

As state employees - and citizens, the safety of the information on your computer, both at work and at home, should be cause for heightened concern. As technology develops, so do the tools of potential hackers, identity thieves, cyber bullies, and other undesirables. A cybercrime incident - in the form of computer intrusions, malware or viruses - can lead to loss of important state information, personal financial loss and even loss of intellectual property.

There are many ways a hacker can attack you, with the vast majority of attacks coming through a method called social engineering. These attacks come through email, through websites, through social media outlets, and through the use of instant messaging tools. Attackers can also use phishing scams to trick you into installing bad programs or providing them with your personal information. They're also actively searching the internet for computer systems with software vulnerabilities to exploit.

Be Aware of Phishing Schemes

Just like a fisherman trolls to lure in a big catch, some scammers might try to lure you in to giving up personal information. Phishing is a scam in which an email appears to be from a legitimate business, but it actually directs you to a fraudulent website. Once on the fraudulent website, users are asked to provide confidential information such as login information and passwords, potentially exposing them to future cyber-attacks.

Phishing scams can be very difficult to recognize. To understand Phishing better, please visit these resources:

  • How Not to Get Hooked by a Phishing Scam
    Tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam and revealing your personal information. Provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Avoid a Phishing Attack
    Guidelines for how to avoid phishing attacks. Explains the common methods attackers use to steal your personal information. Provided by the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team.
  • Anti-Phishing Working Group
    Information on how to eliminate fraud and identity theft that result from phishing, pharming and e-mail spoofing of all types.

In addition to taking normal precautions, such as visiting only trusted websites, avoiding pop-up ads, and securing your computers and mobile phones when not in use, getting educated on cyber-attack methods is a good idea.

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