“This year we ask users to take particular care with the information they share across social networks,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “This applies particularly to applications used to plan vacations or to locate people geographically through GPS devices, as this information could easily be used to break into homes.”
Although these types of applications have become highly popular over the last year, they also pose a serious security risk.
“Such programs are interesting and fun, but the problem lies in how criminals could exploit this information,” Corrons said. “We have already seen both the emergence and closure of services like PleaseRobMe, which as its name suggests, connects with applications and popular social networks to offer information about who is not at home at any moment. This underlines how careless people can be when offering personal information publicly.”
PandaLabs offers the following advice to help keep user’s and their information safe this season:
If you bring your computer with you on vacation:
* Before leaving for your vacation, back up all your information in case of accidents, thefts, etc.
* Ensure you have have reliable, current protection and all necessary security patches are installed.
* Clean out temporary files, logs, cookies and any password reminders or auto-complete features you use with your browser.
* Do not connect to unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Those networks could be set up by hackers to steal any information that travels in cyberspace.
* Use caution with emails. Phishing attacks and spam are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
If you use a computer other than your own during the holidays:
* Avoid using a shared computer. Using PCs in cyber-cafes, for example, or systems in hotels or airports to access your bank account, could have serious consequences if any malware has been installed.
* If you really have no choice, and you have to enter websites requiring your personal credentials, make sure that any website you log in to uses SSL so your login information is transmitted securely.
* Avoid making online transactions and purchases.
* Do not accept any of the prompts to save personal data offered by many browsers.
* If you download anything onto the local computer, remember to delete it before closing.
More tips on how to surf securely can be found on PandaLabs.