CyberSecurity Source | Winter 2023

CorTrust is excited to present CyberSecurity Source, your quarterly guide to staying safe online!

Texting Scams on the Rise

2022 was a record year for the amount of scam text messages sent by cybercriminals and experts expect that number to rise in 2023. These scams come in a variety of forms, but they all have the same objective: to get you to provide sensitive information. Common scam examples include:

  • Gift or Prize Offers: Criminals pretend to be a well-known company in a message that includes a survey link. They may falsely offer a gift card or cash incentive for completing the survey.
  • Financial Services: Scammers impersonate a bank and request a user to verify their password or username.
  • Government Agencies: A bad actor poses as the IRS and sends texts to obtain a Social Security number.

Thankfully, taking a few moments to verify the legitimacy of a text can help you avoid falling prey to criminals. Here are some steps you can take to stay safe from scammers:

  • Check for spelling errors or demands for immediate action in the text
  • Don’t click on any links in the message
  • Block the phone number the text was sent from

As a reminder, the CorTrust Fraud Department uses text short code 372-68 to notify customers of suspicious activity and will never ask for information regarding accounts or card numbers.You can also save our short code 372-68 as a contact in your phone. We suggest naming the contact ‘CorTrust Fraud Department.’ That way, you’ll never have to question the authenticity of a text from our team.

Clicking links on your phone or computer has become second nature, but did you know this everyday action could lead to your device being taken over, your information being stolen, or even your money being drained from accounts? This happens when a malicious actor uses the email phishing technique, or disguising email links to look legitimate but directing users to a compromised site, to steal sensitive data. While email phishing attacks show no sign of slowing down, there are a few simple steps you can take to detect and avoid them:

  • Always check where a hyperlink is taking you by hovering your cursor over the link to see the final URL
  • Verify that you recognize the individual or company sending you the email (for example, check that the email is coming from @MidAmericanEnergy.com and not @MidAmericaEnergy.com)

Online links aren’t going away anytime soon, so it’s more important than ever to be sure the link you are clicking is taking you to the right destination.

The keys to our digital lives, passwords allow us to access online banking, streaming services, ride sharing apps, email, messaging, and so much more. Because of how ingrained these logins are in everyday life, password security is increasingly important as they are the first line of defense against cybercriminals gaining unauthorized access to your personal data.

Unfortunately, many internet users are making it easier for cybercriminals to steal by using weak passwords. What exactly does a weak password look like? Here’s a list of the top ten worst passwords you can use, many of which can be cracked by hackers in less than a second:

1password61234567
21234567111111
312123456789 812345
4guest9col123456
5qwerty10123123

Besides the basic passwords above, experts also advise against using sport teams, brands, artists, movies, and cars in your logins to increase security.

So, how can you get password security right? Use the following tips to help protect your personal and financial information:

  • Always use complex passwords: using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols in your passwords makes it harder for hackers to crack
  • Don’t share passwords
  • Close any unused accounts
  • Don’t log-in to accounts when using public Wi-Fi (like the Wi-Fi available at airports)
  • Don’t click on suspicious links

And remember, never reuse your passwords! Creating a unique password for each account will help keep you and your data safe online.