Scam of the day – October 3, 2016 – Latest edition of most dangerous celebrities on the Internet

Each year, computer security company, McAfee releases a list of the most dangerous celebrities on the Internet.  These are people whose popularity is exploited by identity thieves and hackers who lure unsuspecting people through links in emails, social media and text messages relating to these celebrities to malware filled websites where they unknowingly download ransomware or keystroke logging malware that enables the identity thieves to steal all of the personal information from the victim’s computer, laptop, smartphone or other electronic device and use that information to make the person a victim of identity theft.  This year comedian Amy Schumer tops the list followed by Justin Bieber, Carson Daly, Will Smith, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Chris Hardwick, Daniel Tosh, Selena Gomez and Kesha.

TIPS

It is important to remember that merely because a website turns up high on a Google search does not mean that it is legitimate.  Google doesn’t check out websites for legitimacy in ranking sites.  The ranking is done by secret algorithms that some identity thieves are adept at manipulating.  Also, as I constantly warn you, never click on links or download attachments unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate.  Merely because it appears that a friend is passing them on to you does not make them legitimate.  As for celebrity videos and photos, you should have a healthy mistrust of websites with which you are not entirely familiar.  For gossip, www.tmz.com is a good place to go.  They always have the latest gossip and they are legitimate.  Finally make sure that you keep all of your electronic devices secure with anti-malware and anti-virus software and keep your security software current with the latest security patches.

Scam of the day – October 15, 2012 – Justin Bieber lost laptop

A few days ago,  it was reported that Justin Bieber’s laptop was stolen from backstage during a show in Tacoma, Washington.  What we don’t know is if Bieber’s laptop was properly secured with a complex password.  Many people are, unfortunately, quite lax when it comes to protecting their laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices with up to date security software, encryption programs and, the most basic of all protections, a good password.  If Bieber falls into this group, he could lose more than just a computer.  Like many people, Bieber may keep important records on his laptop and use it also for financial transactions which could put Bieber in serious jeopardy if he either did not have a password to protect his computer or used an easy to predict password.

TIPS

Scammers and identity thieves can easily predict the most commonly used passwords among which are 123456, password, iloveyou, and abc123.  They can also easily predict passwords from adjacent keys on your keyboard, such as asdfgh.  If that doesn’t make sense to you, look down at your keyboard.  Additionally it is easy to predict names and words found in the dictionary.  Scammers also have computer programs that can rapidly try many passwords to crack even the more complex passwords.   In order to protect yourself with a password that is unlikely to be able to be predicted or discerned by a scammer or identity thief, you should consider having a password of at least twelve characters, have at least one letter be a capital letter and at least one letter be in lower case.  Also use at least one digit in your password and one symbol.  Remember a key to protection is length, so, for instance a good password would be  Ytefas1st!!!.  This odd arrangement is made up of the word “safety” spelled backwards and starting with a capital letter and then having the rest of the letters in lower case.  Then the password has “1st” as in “first,” but with a digit and ends with three explanation points which makes this easy to remember and hard to break.