As many of you know on Friday, Jan. 3, the Constant Contact account belonging to the Albert Wisner Library was hacked and a malicious email attachment was sent to the library’s mailing list.
It is important to know that absolutely no personal information was stolen from the Library during this intrusion.
Furthermore, the library does not store any personal information beyond contact information such as phone numbers or email addresses.
The library will never request money or confidential information via an email.
If you did open the attachment you should take steps to secure your device, including a full system virus scan with your antivirus and a malware check with a program such as Malwarebytes.
For more information about how to perform either of these scans, or for more information about keeping your computer safe please come to the Library Help Desk.
The best defense against this sort of intrusion is knowledge and this hack is a perfect moment to remind everyone of the best practices for securing your information online:
Keep your password safe.
Don’t use the names of your children, pets, sports teams or dates of birth as this information can be easily found on social media profiles. Don’t use the same password in multiple online accounts. Change your passwords regularly. Consider using a Password Manager program such as Norton Identity Safe.
If in doubt, don’t click on it.
Cyber criminals send fake emails or texts that can look authentic. This is known as phishing and these links contain malicious software (malware) that can mine your device for personal information. Be wary of any emails and messages that seem to be from a company you do business with, especially if they contain spelling mistakes or use a different tone of voice compared to previous communication you’ve received from the company. Also remember that most businesses will never send you emails or texts, or even call you, asking for secure information. If you do receive a message fitting this description, you should delete it immediately.
Use two-factor authentication (TFA).
Adding an extra layer of security will significantly increase protection. This could be adding a personal question, using biometric scanning, voice recognition, a secret username, or using your email and phone to confirm new login and transaction requests.
Use a comprehensive, integrated security solution.
Using lots of different security software can leave gaps in your defense, so consumers are usually better off using a single comprehensive security solution that covers all their connected devices and protects against all the different types of threats- from spyware and viruses to financial Trojans. Program examples include Norton 360, AVG Ultimate, or Avast Premium to name a few.
Stay vigilant and responsive. Regularly check your bank and credit statements to spot any transactions you didn’t make. If you see anything that looks odd, alert your financial institution and change your credit or debit card. If a company that you use has experienced a breach, change your passwords immediately.
Use VPN’s, especially on public Wi-Fi.
Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted, offering the chance to intercept data being sent and received by your device. Using a virtual private network (VPN) – available by subscription - means it’s much harder for your data to be intercepted.
If you follow these six security habits and remain vigilant you will massively decrease your exposure to potential digital security threats in 2020 and beyond.
Director, Albert Wisner Public Library