Religious : : Thoughts from Our Rabbi

Be aware that unscrupulous people will take advantage of our good nature and trust. To avoid scams, remember you will NEVER be asked to provide credentials or personal data in an email or over the phone. Do NOT provide this information, even if the sender looks or sounds legitimate.

Make it more difficult for hackers
Be smart about passwords. Use strong passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols. This will help you defend against hackers who make random and systematic guesses that are based on commonly used words.

Use different passwords for different websites. Use password management software to help you remember them. To thwart unauthorized password recovery that’s based on commonly known information (your date of birth, the model of your first car, or your pet’s name), consider whether you can use related but nonsense answers. For example, you could use the city in which a child was born, the model of your neighbor’s car, or the color of your pet instead.

Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Two-factor authorization requires you to enter a code provided to you via either text message or email, in addition to entering a password.

Update your software. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities that are found in commonly used software such as your operating system, office productivity software, and web browsers. To prevent this, you should Install all updates to your software programs; set them to automatically update, if that’s possible.

Install anti-malware software on all computers.

Block spam. It’s essential to have a good spam blocker. Spam is the most common path by which you can be targeted for infection with a computer virus or social engineering. (Social engineering is when criminals psychologically manipulate people so that they divulge confidential information.)

Deter deceit
Avoid social engineering. Even if you have strong passwords, you can be tricked to provide information via social engineering. To avoid these scams, remember you will never be asked to provide credentials or personal data in an email or over the phone. Do not provide this information, even if the sender looks legitimate. Look for evidence that would suggest an email or website is fraudulent. Be suspicious if you see misspelled words, links to an unrelated website, or deals that are too good to be true. If it is too good to be true, you know it isn’t true.

Beware of ransomware. A type of malware, called ransomware, is designed to defraud unsuspecting users. It convinces you that your device is infected with a virus, and that you need to pay a fee to download software that will disinfect your computer.

Rely on security software programs that are reputable. Browse the Internet more securely. Verify that a web page is legitimate before you enter any financial or personal information. For example, enter your bank’s website address manually into your browser’s address bar, rather than clicking a link to it in a questionable email, and make sure there aren’t any typos. In addition, look for websites whose addresses that start with “https.” When you see this, it means that the website is using some form of encryption to protect the data that is transferred between you and that website. Most major websites employ HTTPS encryption. BE SAFE, BE SECURE.

B’vrachot, blessings, Rabbi Dennis