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Security & Fraud Prevention

This Fake App Takes the Cake

Another great article from our friends on KnowBe4's Security Team

This recent scam is impressively complex. The cybercriminals start by impersonating law enforcement officers. They contact you, claiming that your bank account may have been involved in financial fraud. You’re then asked to download a mobile app to help them investigate further. If you download the app, the cybercriminal walks you through the steps to set this scam in motion. 

First, you are given a case number. When you search for that number in the app, you’ll find legal-looking documents with your name on them. These documents make the scam feel more legitimate. Once your guard is down, the app asks you to select your bank from a list and then enter your account number and other personal information.

The most clever part of this scam is what the app does in the background. When you first install the app, it blocks all incoming calls and text messages. That way, you won’t be alerted if your bank attempts to contact you about unusual behavior on your account. If all goes as planned, the cybercriminals will steal your money and sensitive information before you know what happened. 

No matter how advanced the app is, you can stay safe from scams like this by following the tips below.

  • Only download apps from trusted publishers.  Anyone can publish an app on official stores or sites - including cybercriminals.
  • Be cautious of scare tactics that play with your emotions.  Cyberattacks are designed to catch you off guard and trigger you to reveal sensitive information.
  • If you're contacted by someone claiming to be in a position of authority, like law enforcement, ask them to confirm their identity. Real officials will understand your concerns and can provide information that doesn't require you to download an app.  
  • Keeping Your Passwords Squeaky Clean

    Another great article from our friends on KnowBe4's Security Team

    Did you know that the average person uses the same three to seven passwords to log in to over 170 online accounts? In addition to being reused, these passwords are often weak and can be easily guessed by cybercriminals. If cybercriminals guess these passwords, they could access the majority of their victim’s online accounts. Even worse, the victim may not know that their password has been compromised for several months or years. To keep your passwords squeaky clean and safe from cybercriminals, follow the tips below:

    Create Strong Passwords

    Creating strong passwords helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your online accounts. Your passwords should be as long, complex, and random as possible. While many websites only require passwords to be eight characters long, we recommend making your password at least 12 characters long. You should also include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password. To keep your accounts extra safe, you can use password phrases, or passphrases. However, when you create your password or passphrase, make sure that you don’t use any personal information that a cybercriminal could guess.

    Don't Reuse Passwords

    Reusing passwords for your online accounts may be convenient, but it’s also risky. If you reuse passwords, you could be at risk of having multiple accounts compromised at once. If a cybercriminal guesses your password, they could access multiple accounts instead of just one account. Cybercriminals can also sell passwords or make them available online. Creating a unique password for each online account reduces the risk if one of your passwords is compromised.

    Use a Password Manager

    You’re probably wondering how you are supposed to remember long, complex passwords for all of your online accounts. The answer is a password manager. You can use password managers to securely store all of your passwords. Instead of having to remember passwords for every online account, you only have to remember one password for your password manager. In addition to storing your passwords, many password managers can also generate passwords for you based on specific criteria.

    Use Multi-Factor Authentication

    You can also use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your online accounts, if available. MFA requires multiple forms of authentication, such as a password and a code from your smartphone or a USB smart key. By requiring you to use multiple forms of authentication, cybercriminals will have a harder time gaining access to your account, even if your password is compromised.

    Nobody wants cybercriminals to guess their passwords. To keep your passwords squeaky clean and safe, remember to create strong passwords, avoid reusing passwords, and use a password manager or MFA, if possible.                 

     

    The KnowBe4 Security Team                 

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