Safety & Security
Privacy Security and You
Keep Your Identity and Your GECU Account Information Safe and Secure
What is a social engineering attack?
To launch a social engineering attack, an attacker uses human interaction (social skills) to obtain or compromise information about an organization or its computer systems. An attacker may seem unassuming and respectable, possibly claiming to be a new employee, repair person, or researcher and even offering credentials to support that identity. However, by asking questions, he or she may be able to piece together enough information to infiltrate an organization's network. If an attacker is not able to gather enough information from one source, he or she may contact another source within the same organization and rely on the information from the first source to add to his or her credibility.
What is a phishing attack?
Phishing is a form of social engineering. Phishing attacks use email or malicious web sites to solicit personal, often financial, information. Attackers may send email seemingly from a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem. When users respond with the requested information, attackers can use it to gain access to the accounts.
How do you avoid being a victim?
- Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
- Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person's authority to have the information.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
- Don't send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a web site's security (see Protecting Your Privacy for more information).
- Pay attention to the URL of a web site. Malicious web sites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
- If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a web site connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information. Information about known phishing attacks is also available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group (http://www.antiphishing.org/phishing_archive.html).
- Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic (see Understanding Firewalls, Understanding Anti-Virus Software, and Reducing Spam for more information).
IRS Phishing Scam and Identity Theft
US-CERT continues to receive reports of phishing scams that target online users. Most recently, users have reported receiving emails that appear to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The phishing email claims to offer a tax refund and requests users to click on a link to provide personal and possibly sensitive information. Identity thieves could use this information to further compromise unsuspecting victims.
A spokesperson for the IRS has confirmed that they do not solicit anything by email.
ATM Safety And You
ATMs are a fast and easy way to withdraw cash, check account balances and deposit or transfer funds. Hand-in-hand with the convenience of 24/7 access provided by ATMs is the need to exercise caution. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your money when using an ATM.
- How RATS Access Your PC
Sent by computer hackers, two primary methods used to sneak RATS on to your PC are through music download and electronic greeting card sites.
- How RATS Work
RATs are patient. They wait for you to log on to your financial institution website, type in your account number or user ID and password. It then transmits your information from your PC to the hacker.
- RAT Defense
Anti-virus and spyware software can help, but you are your best defense. Be careful how you use your computer. Stay clear of unfamiliar websites and don't reply to every pop-up or unauthorized e-mail.
- Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN), a secret.
- Always observe your surroundings before conducting an ATM transaction.
- If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, go to another ATM.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use.
- Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others can't see your PIN.
- If you see anyone or anything suspicious while conducting a transaction, cancel it and leave immediately.
- If anyone follows you after making an ATM transaction, go to a crowded, well-lit area and call 911.
- When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, the doors locked and the windows up at all times. If something strikes you as unusual or suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave immediately.