Thursday, February 23, 2017

Security and Risk Complaints Online on Home instead launches cybersecurity campaign

By Mat Batts the Dispatch

Home Instead Senior Care launched a nationwide campaign Friday aimed at better preparing seniors for internet scams and financial fraud attempts.

The effort, a partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance, includes online resources as well as in-person seminars that provide detailed explanations of what online scams are and how senior citizens can stay protected.

The new program comes at a particularly relevant time locally, Home Instead Community Engagement Coordinator Shannon Holland said, as Davidson County residents continue to question how the sensitive information of more than 3,200 Davidson County Schools employees was breached through a phishing scam last month.

Holland said Lexington’s Home Instead office is offering the cybersecurity seminar to any community groups interested in learning more about the threats senior citizens could face.

According to a press release accompanying the fraud prevention rollout, Home Instead said senior citizens are often targeted by scammers because of a perceived accumulated wealth, and the idea that seniors might be less likely to report the crime.

“For seniors, this is a time in their lives when they should be able to trust that their life’s earning are protected,” Shanna Howard, owner of the local Home Instead office serving Davidson and Davie counties, said in the release. “Unfortunately, we know there are people who violate this trust.

“That’s why we are committed to helping seniors understand the ways they are at risk online and how to protect their information to reduce their chances of being scammed.”

Home Instead reported that nearly 97 percent of seniors age 70 and older are using the internet at least once a week to check email, manage money and keep in touch via social media. Of those who use the internet, according to a Home Instead survey, 67 percent have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. More than 38 percent, the survey said, report that someone has tried to scam them online, and 28 percent of surveyed seniors have mistakenly downloaded a computer virus.

According to a survey conducted by Home Instead on the cybersecurity risks senior citizens face, approximately one in five seniors operates a computer without any anti-virus software. Sixty-eight percent of the seniors surveyed report using a single password to protect their accounts across multiple websites.

Tax season also presents additional challenges for seniors who risk inadvertently revealing personal tax information or falling victim to a scam by someone posing as the IRS. While most seniors reported doing their taxes offline in the Home Instead survey, more 20 percent of seniors did report filing their taxes online and said they felt safe doing so.

Included in both the online and hard-copy information provided through the Home Instead program are tips on how to spot scams related to the IRS and who to contact in the event of an attempted scam.

“Cybersecurity is about risk reduction,” Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, said in the release. “It’s difficult to achieve perfect security. But you can help older adults work to make themselves a more difficult target.”

Home Instead recommends that seniors create strong passwords and vary them from website to website, to avoid the risk of a large-scale breach in the event that a password is recovered by a scammer.

Additional tips also include monitoring a senior’s privacy settings on social media to ensure that information is shared only with close friends and family. Seniors who receive an inquiry online about taxes or a bank account should contact the company directly by phone to determine if the inquiry is legitimate.

An online quiz provided through walks seniors through 10 specific scenarios related to internet use, asking if they detect any red flags. Based on their answers, the quiz breaks down each risk with suggested courses of actions should a senior citizen come across a similar situation in real life.

Anyone interested in hosting a Home Instead internet security education seminar can contact Lexington’s Home Instead office at (336) 249-1011.

Mat Batts can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 227, or at Follow Mat on Twitter: @LexDispatchMB

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Get Prepared: How to Safeguard your Small Business against Cyberattacks

Every business that uses a computer, email, software and the internet on a daily basis should establish computer security to protect their business on threats from cybercriminals. In most cases, small business are an appealing target for cybercriminals due to their lack of resources in establishing a strong security for their website, accounts and networks systems, thus, making cyberattacks a relatively easy job. Remember, a single successful cyberattack can seriously damage your business. Here are some and simple practices you should implement to strengthen the internet security of your small business:

·         Create and implement basic security practices and policies for all your employees to abide and educate them on cyberattacks and the impact it may bring to the business. This will ensure that your staff has appropriate awareness training, so that everyone understands their role in keeping the business secure.
·         Frequently back up important data. For added security, encrypt it. Store your backup copies either offsite or in the cloud. Computers and electronic devices must be physically locked and secured to prevent unauthorized access.
·         You must require a strong unique password on all your computers to make sure that only authorized individuals have access to the data. Consider creating a password expiration policy or implement a multi-factor authentication that requires additional details aside from a password to gain entry from the system.
·         Make yourself updated on latest schemes that cybercriminals do to victimize a business. Learning the newest threats on your business will help you in establishing a plan to protect your business even more.
·         Make it a habit of shredding documents and receipts that contain sensitive information such as personal and financial details if it is no longer needed.
·         One of the basic precautions to protect your company’s data is to make sure that all computers have antivirus and antispyware software installed and up-to-date. Make use of firewalls and spam filters too for added security.

·         Consider the services of a trustworthy company that works with small business to do difficult or time-consuming task. Such as utilizing the payroll service of Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP).