Over the past few days I’ve been monitoring a pretty major security breach at Internet marketer Epsilon. This firm is hired by many Fortune 500 companies for email marketing campaigns. While the breach only revealed email addresses, the risk for virus and spyware infection is great. In a nutshell, millions of legitimate email addresses from Citibank, Verizon, Chase Bank, Best Buy and many other companies have been released to spammers, who may now pelt you with seemingly legitimate emails that will infect your computer. To avoid this, follow the following safety guidelines:
- Be aware of the emails you are receiving on a regular basis. If it is not normal for your bank to email you, DO NOT CLICK A LINK IN THE MESSAGE. Rather, login to the main website and find the information the long way. You will most likely find the reason for emailing you is false.
- Mouse over (DON’T CLICK) the link in the email and look at the Status bar in the lower left hand corner where the link will be displayed again. Does it match? Is it going to the right company’s web site?
- If you do click the link and you notice the website is different than what you thought, you most likely have been infected (it can happen that fast) and you will need make sure the machine is properly cleaned using a virus and mal-ware scanner. Your best bet it to contact your IT help desk in a business or use free tools like (Avast! Anti-Virus and Malware Bytes). If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help!
- Do not ever, EVER, E-V-E-R share any personal, financial information over the Internet unless you have typed the URL in yourself and are confident in the legitimacy of the site. Treat your logins in this same manner.
- Look for the Lock! Any reputable company that asks for any personal or financial information will encrypt the connection with an SSL certificate. You’ll know the connection is encrypted by the lock that appears next to the address bar, the link will change to say httpS:// and in many cases, the address bar may even turn green to show that the site is legitimate.
- Make sure your security software is running and updated at all times.
- The best advice of all – never click a link in an email from an untrusted or unsolicited source.
For more information about the breach, click here: http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/market-news/epsilon-security-breach-protect-your-p/19901868/
For help cleaning your computer or any questions about the security tips above, contact CNS.