The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) reports that about 240 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. each year. While some 9-1-1 calls are legitimate, a fraction of them are not. Viewed harmless to some, prank calls can lead to serious consequences, and all prank calls are not necessarily harmless.
The term “swatting” has been known to the FBI for years and happens to be a new spin on an old trick — the prank call. Unfortunately, swatting has become a growing concern from a cybersecurity perspective, as some perpetrators are using security cameras in their attacks. We take a closer look at swatting, a few incidents, and cybersecurity tips that can help you protect yourself from these incidents and other cyber attacks.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Two-factor authentication is an additional step in the login process that can help protect your account. Eric Florence with Security Tech recommends setting up “two-factor authentication for all [of your] logins”. Whenever this option is made available, take advantage of it to help secure your account.
- Change the default username and password on your home router. When you purchase a new router, always change the default username and password as this information may be available across the internet to cybercriminals. Don’t make hacking into your home internet an easy process.
- Use complex passwords that are hard to decipher. Include a variation of letter case, numbers, and characters whenever possible to create complex passwords.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Try to use a different password for your accounts. This will make it harder for cybercriminals to access your information across a range of platforms or services.
- Don’t share passwords with anyone. To protect your information, don’t give out your password to anyone, and also don’t let another person use one of your passwords.
- Change your passwords periodically. It’s recommended that you change your passwords every three months.
- Be careful about the websites you visit and purchase from. Be wary of the websites you visit and order from. For online shopping, only order from trusted retailers.
- Make sure the website is using a secure socket layer (HTTPS). Look for the lock when visiting websites to help ensure you’re browsing over a secured website.
- Be careful about the apps you install on your phone. Be very selective about the apps you install on your phone and computer. Not all apps are harmless. Carefully read through reviews to see if there are any complaints.
- Be careful about sharing personal information online. Don’t be quick to share your email address or input your information into social media quizzes. You never know how that data could be used.