One of the fastest expanding crimes world-wide is the criminal activity known as Cyber-Attack. Sophisticated thieves enter into a computer system and steal valuable data such as social security numbers and personal information relating to health and finances.
Cyber Attack Prevention Tips: Take a little extra time and effort to secure you and your family’s personal and financial information. • THINK “PASS PHRASE:” Most passwords are either too short or too simple to be effective. Any password, no matter what characters used, less than 8 characters long can be cracked in seconds with freely available password cracking software. Simply put, the longer the password, the better. Think of phrases using spaces, upper and lower case letters, numbers, acronyms, and special characters. • DO NOT use birthdays, your dog’s name, your kid’s nickname, ‘password,’ or any word or phrase that can be found in the dictionary. Remember, a seven character password can be cracked in a matter of seconds, a 16 character passphrase could take 10,000 years to crack. • USE A TWO-STEP VERIFICATION: To further strengthen the sign-in process to your accounts, add another layer of security with two-step verification. This requires you to both know a password and have a physical layer (i.e. your cell phone) in order to access your information. An online entity might ask for a password, and once it is verified, will send a second unique code to your phone. If your password is discovered, hackers aren’t able to access your data with just that information. • PUBLIC ‘OPEN’ WI-FI: Do not access critical data on public or open Wi-Fi networks. Do not enter passwords while on an open Wi-Fi. Only use public Wi-Fi networks which request a passcode to enter, even if everyone knows that code. • SECURE YOUR HOME NETWORK: If you have wireless Internet at home, you have a home network. It needs to be secured and the factory settings MUST be changed. If you don’t know how to do this, contact your Internet Service Provider. • UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE: There is a saying in the cyber-security community, ‘patch, patch, patch!’ Most breaches, including the recent Sony and Target hacks were made through unpatched or un-updated software. Make sure you are using Windows Automatic Update, or Mac OS update and check to ensure all of your applications are up to date. Secunia PSI is a free Windows update manager and can be found at secunia.com. • INSTALL ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE: Your cellphone is also a computer and subject to attack. It also needs Virus protection. Keep your Anti-Virus software patched and up-to-date! • CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT and watch for other fraud. After about 30 days (long enough for fraudulent activity to show up), log on to annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Look for any unusual activity. Also, look for signs of fraud in your medical files, on your Social Security statement, in insurance claims, or in public records. • PLACE FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR CREDIT FILE: An alert placed with any one of the three major credit bureaus signals to potential creditors that you could be a victim of identity theft.
Anyone with information about this incident, or for more information, is asked to call the LAPD Computer Crimes Unit at 213-533-4657. During non-business hours or on the weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.