With the increasing number of cyber attacks on individual, but especially on businesses, the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sent along another reminder of actions users and companies can implement to stave off the never ending attempt to attack computers and networks.

Internet-enabled crimes and cyber intrusions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and preventing them requires each and every user of a connected device to be aware and on guard. During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the FBI joins in asking every user of a connected device to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. - FBI

Graphic: Courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation)

The FBI says "all computer users should keep systems and software up to date and use a good anti-virus program. These programs are not foolproof, however, and computer users themselves often help cyber criminal get through these safeguards. To avoid inadvertently downloading malicious code that can harm your network or giving a criminal money or valuable information, the FBI recommends following these tips:"

  • Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling.
  • If an unsolicited text message or email asks you to update, check, or verify your account information, do not follow the link provided in the message itself or call the phone numbers provided in the message. Go to the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number listed on the official website to see if something does in fact need your attention.
  • Do not open any attachment unless you are expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address.
  • Carefully scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds.
  • Be extra suspicious of any message that urges immediate action.
  • Confirm requests for wire transfers or payment in person or over the phone as part of a two-factor authentication process. Do not verify these requests using the phone number listed in the request for payment.
  • Backup your data on a regular basis. Secure your data by disconnecting your backups from your computer and networks. Store in a secure location.

Many of these tips are common sense, and can sound repetitive, but obviously, many people are not following even simple guidelines.

  • Set strong passwords
  • Use multi-factor authentication
  • Use anti-virus software
  • Back up important data on a regular basis
  • Install patches and updates
  • Do not click on links from untrusted sources
  • Avoid using public WiFi for sensitive activities
  • Use privacy settings on social media sites

If you believe you are the victim of a malicious cyber attack, please contact the FBI’s Detroit Division at 313-965-2323 or report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.