Remember how we used to go pay the bills, buy your nephew’s birthday gift, get a gag card for a coworker, or bring a bouquet to your loved one as an apology? It required actually leaving the house. As much convenience as modern technology has brought for us, these everyday tasks still remain and we are constantly looking for new and better ways to make things quicker, easier, and more accurate, and naturally, most of it relates to computers and the Internet. We shop around, buy tickets to the concert of a favorite band in a town afar, and send money to the organizer for the bachelor’s party you are so looking forward to. Online Banking and Shopping makes life easier because it’s convenient, fast, and SAFE?
According to NAB Group Economics, Australia’s online retail spending increased to $16.9 billion for the year to April 2015, or by 9.6% annually. Compared to the 30% growth in 2010, it seems to have slowed down, but studies show constant growth in domestic and international online sales and transfers. The Internet has let more goods and services available to anyone that seeks, and the convenience of it being delivered to the door after a few clicks is very hard to resist. Household goods, office supplies, organic deliveries to labor service, we think of it and someone offers it online. From the business’s point of view, the new connection was to increase sales, raise efficiency, decrease costs, and create more exposure. Every business offers some form of online service now and online transfer of orders and payments is gradually becoming a bigger part of our daily life. And the more common it becomes, the more accustomed we become to make the moves without much concern, because everyone does it. And more exposure asks for more security, so how safe is everyone that’s doing it?
When we go to a crowded open market, we automatically tighten our grip on our wallet. We don’t want our hard earned money or IDs and credit cards to get stolen, and those pickpockets are just impossible to notice in a swarm of people. Let’s bring that to the Internet-size market, which is lurking with hackers. The simple town-size scale of possible threats is multiplied by, well, pick the biggest number you can think of. And they are not only pick-pocketing what you have in your purse or your computer. They will outsmart you in the most damaging ways they can possibly find and your vulnerability can give the hackers further access to your neighbors, friends, and coworkers, and even jeopardize your work’s network system. The bugs are usually transmitted through infected emails or websites, and once released, they can:
- get your contact information and attempt to spread the bugs to all of your and their contacts;
- sit in your system and record all of your movements until they acquire what they want; or/and
- take control of your computer or possibly the whole network system for further harm or for a ransom.
According to ACCC’s Report, total reported financial losses from online scams increased in 2014 by 13 per cent to $47,387,308. The damages have escalated from identity theft to additional mass scale theft straight out of the victims’ accounts that leads the victims to bankruptcy or compromise their budgets and funds. Often times, the hackers remain stealth for a certain period, studying the target’s and their associates’ movements, testing and planning a bigger scam while making small transfers or changes. It is important to be aware of possible threats and make a habit of being cautious at all times, not only because it can always be you, but also because it can be anyone you know, even your best friend that can send you that tricky email you wouldn’t suspect with the cutest puppy asking you to “Just Click me if you love me.”
- Filter spam. Take some time to set it up and update it as needed!
- Don’t trust unsolicited email. Anything that sounds too good to be true usually is too good to be true.
- Treat EVERY email attachments with caution.
- Don’t click links in email messages, unless you are sure of the source. You can always hover over the link before clicking it to check for the full URL.
- Install antivirus software and a personal firewall keep it up to date.
- Stay up to date on the news by following advisers or sign up for emailing list.