The massive scare over the DNSChanger in was yet another reminder to be diligent to keep your computer safe. According to the FBI, an Estonia group was able to surreptitiously capture at least $14 million by replacing advertisements on computers of unsuspecting Internet users with their phony ads.

About 50,000 U.S. computers among 250,000 systems worldwide were believed infected with the Trojan in July 2012. Most of the damage was in the U.S., Germany, Great Britain, India and Italy.

The FBI warned about the issue for months after shutting down the Estonia ring closing the DNSChanger system, which eliminated Internet service on those computers.

In fact, a few months earlier the FBI said Internet criminals pose a bigger threat than terrorists.

Such cybercrime, means the dangerous implications are many, especially for businesspeople and individuals who use online banking.

Of course, it’s important to guard against criminals who want to steal your money by accessing your personal information.

At first, it was only big bank customers being attacked. Now, cybercriminals have victimized credit unions and their members.

Seven reminders to stay safe:

Links – Don’t ever click on a link allegedly emailed to you by your financial institution. Never respond. That means not forwarding your credit and debit card numbers, user ID or passwords. Criminals, or phishers, will direct you instead their site that looks like your bank’s Web site. That’s how they grab your sensitive information.

So, if you want to logon to your bank, simply type the bank’s address in your URL. Look for the “https” designation and the padlock icon in your browser. You should be nervous if a popup appears. Sign out right away.

Start clean – Because search engines save the pages you visit to make for faster surfing, delete all activity via your control panel. In other words, clear out your cache. Especially, if you use Windows, make sure your browser has a fresh security update. Make sure your antivirus software downloads the latest security update, and then run a full-system scan.

Don’t allow your browser to save your user names and passwords. Malware can easily find it.

WIFI – Never use a public terminal or WIFI for sensitive information. Be very careful if you live in an urban area where your WIFI can be accessed by others.

Private, not public – If for financial or other logistical reasons away from your home or office and you have no other choice – use a portable operating system. Use a Linux-based OSes flash drive, such as open source Ubuntu to create a disc. It can be converted to a startup disc for a mobile Ubuntu.

Use bank’s on-screen keyboard – If you use your bank’s computer terminal, it’s best to use the on-screen keyboard. That will insure your password can’t be stolen by others using this machine.

Passwords – Create strong passwords. It’s best to use a random selection of letters and numbers. Don’t store your user IDs and passwords on your computer. Change them regularly.

Mobile banking – Don’t succumb to your bank’s propaganda about mobile banking. Why?

See these two articles:

Identity Fraud Escalates in Smartphones, Social Media — Skyrocketing mobile malware threats amid widespread use of BYOD, bring your own devices, were on track for a $1.88 billion services market in 2013. That’s according to ABI Research. Cybercriminals are successfully attacking vulnerabilities in individual devices and networks to an ABI report.

Who Profits from Android’s Security Issues? Not Users — Countless headlines detail the cyber dangers of Android-based devices. It has to do with the apps.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are other tips:

Security — Cyber Criminals Chew up Apple Products, too — For years in terms of security, Windows has been considered inferior to Macs. But no longer thanks to malware security epidemics. If you’ve got an iPhone, get busy. Apple continues to have bugs and security issues.

Security Precautions to Take Following Citibank’s Second Reported Online Breach — Citibank’s admission that private information of 360,083 North American Citigroup credit card accounts was stolen by hackers in 2011, which affected 210,000 customers, serves as a warning for all businesses and consumers to take precautionary steps. The bank’s May 2011 security breach wasn’t reported until weeks later. Originally, Citibank said 200,000 accounts were affected.

Why Many Healthcare Workers Are Alarmingly Responsible for Medical ID Theft — Medical identity theft is skyrocketing. It’s the fast-growing trend in ID thievery.

Lesson about Passwords after Theft of 16,000+ UCLA Patient Records — Unfortunately, we’ve learned another lesson about passwords at the expense of 16,288 patients who’ve been treated at UCLA’s network of hospitals and clinics.  The patients’ sensitive information are in the wrong hands following a burglary of a doctor. The information was on the computer hard drive stolen from a doctor’s home

“Cyber terrorism could also become more attractive as the real and virtual worlds become more closely coupled, with automobiles, appliances, and other devices attached to the Internet.”

-Dorothy Denning


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.