How ‘Spear Phishing’ Scams Reveal Your Private Information

Take the necessary precautions during Cyber Security Awareness Month to protect your online accounts.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In a time when private information is at risk more than ever, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and President Obama have partnered to create a public awareness campaign called “Lock Down Your Login.”

The concept of the campaign is to encourage people to use better authentication methods with their online accounts. A simple username and password are no longer effective.

Most security breaches can be avoided with the use of authentication systems such as biometrics, or dual-factor authentication to supplement usernames and passwords.

One thing to keep in mind is to be extremely cautious where you enter your username and password. “Spear phishing” emails, which are becoming increasingly popular, are disguised to look like account security pages that request your login information. Once you enter your username and password, the sender then has access to your account.

This is what happened to dozens of celebrities several years ago when a hacker stole private pictures and videos by “spear phishing” and gaining access to their email and iCloud accounts.

Always make sure you can confirm an email or webpage is legitimate. If you have difficulty deciding, you can always contact the company directly.

Many websites such as Yahoo offer dual authentication sign-in, where you must enter a code received through text message after logging in to confirm your identity.

Another good tip is to have different passwords for all your accounts. Although it may seem burdensome, it is one of the easiest things you can do. You could even use the same word or phrase and alter it by a character or two on each account.

Cybersecurity is an increasingly important issue in today’s world. Make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your accounts today. 

About the Author

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Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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