Don’t be part of the “I’ll never get hacked” camp. Do you really think it won’t happen to you? If so, it’s:

4DBecause you think no phishing e-mail could get past your radar. Just because you can spot a Nigerian scam doesn’t mean you can’t be tricked. Phishing campaigns today are ingenious and sophisticated, and include information about the recipients, fooling them into thinking these e-mails are from their friends or associates. These messages will blend right in with all your other legit messages as far as content and appearance, which include good spelling and grammar.

Because you think you’re not a target. You think you’re too little a fish in a sea of gargantuans for a hacker to be interested in you. However, every fish in the sea, including the tiniest, is a potential target. Sometimes, all a hacker wants is someone else’s e-mail from which to send spam.

Because you think deleting your cookies will keep you from getting targeted. This is like saying your house can’t get broken into because the second story windows are locked. But what if the first floor windows, and the front door, are open? Intruders will find other ways to cyber track you than cookies. For example, your IP address can identify you, which is why it’s always good to run Hotspot Shield to mask your IP address and protect your data on free WiFi. Second, your computer and browser have your unique fingerprint.

Because you think you’re invulnerable with firewall and antivirus software. Did you know that in some cases the best anti-malware detection, especially for larger business networks, spot only 45 percent of attacks? Keeping in mind you have to have antivirus, antiphishing, antispyware and a firewall as necessary layers of protection.

Because you think that avoiding Internet back alleys will keep you protected. Just like a mugging can occur in broad daylight in a busy mall parking lot, so can deposition of malware in that this is many times more likely to occur as a result of visiting popular online shopping sites and search engines, when compared to phony software sites. And if you spend a lot of time on porn sites, consider yourself infected.

Don’t Be a Myth Head

A smart, sophisticated cyber criminal will go after smart, sophisticated users, not just the dumb ones. Don’t let your guard down for a second. There’s always someone out there who’s smarter than you—or, at least—smart enough to trick you, if you become lax.

One step forward is to just commit to never, ever clicking on any links inside of e-mails. And when you receive an e-mail with an empty subject line, even if the sender is apparently your mother…don’t open it. Instead, send her an e-mail and ask her if she sent you one with a blank subject line. And even then, don’t open it, because you just never know. Protecting yourself takes a little more time, but remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Which frankly, I really don’t know what that means, but it sounds good right here.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

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