Delivering SMS "Smishing" Scams
Smishing is high up on the list of words that do not sound as intimidating or threatening as they should. Smashing the word fishing together with the “SM” for short messaging service (aka text), smishing is a cyberscam.

Especially with online shopping skyrocketing during the pandemic, delivery smishing has gained traction. Don’t fall victim to this type of cyberattack.

What does smishing look like?

You’ll get a text message that appears to be from a shipping company. You’re told you have a package coming, but that more information is needed to ensure delivery. You’ll squeal, “a package!” OK, maybe you won’t squeal, but you’ll feel anticipation and click on the link to help deliver that package to your door.

You might already be expecting a package. After all, as recently as June 2021, PWC was describing a “dramatic shift” toward online shopping. According to its most recent consumer survey, in the last twelve months:
·        44% of those surveyed bought online using a mobile phone or smartphone;
·        42% used smart home voice assistants to shop online;
·        38% used a tablet for online shopping;
·        34% bought something online via PC.

So, you might not think twice about clicking on a link appearing to be from a major delivery service. Don’t do it.

What happens next?

You click on the link and are asked for personal information, even a credit card number or password. Otherwise, clicking on the link will download malware onto your phone. The bad guys use their access to snoop and/or send your sensitive data to its servers, without you knowing it.

The smishing scam is a global one:
·        UPS warns about this type of fraud on its website.
·        FedEx has tweeted the reminder, "We do not send unsolicited texts or emails requesting money, packages or personal information. Suspicious messages should be deleted without being opened and reported to"

Package delivery isn’t the only common smishing tactic either. You might also see:
·        urgent messages saying your bank account is locked;
·        a warning from your credit card company about a fraud alert;
·        something promising that you’ve won a great prize;

All that would get your attention, right? So, what do you do about smishing? That’s covered next.

Protect against smishing

Avoid getting drawn in by the urgency or emotional appeal of the SMS. Don’t click the link, and don’t call the number in the message either. Instead, look through your bills or go online into your account for information on how to contact that company.

Reputable mail carriers and financial institutions won't send text messages asking for credentials, credit card numbers, ATM PINs, or banking information.

Look at the sender more closely. A message from a number with only a few digits was likely sent from an email address, which can flag that it’s a scam.

Also, don’t store personal banking or credit card information on your mobile phone. That way the criminals can’t access it, even if they do get you to download malware onto your phone.
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about "Smishing". We can be reached directly at 940-282-0290.
Is Your Home Smart Enough for Your Devices?
With the increasing reach of the Internet of Things, more of us have devices in the home to connect online: it’s no longer just connecting a computer to a dial-up modem. In fact, it’s estimated that the average home now has as many as 50 connected devices. All this could require a home network upgrade.

Beyond computers, smartphones, and tablets, there are many different types of connected devices in the home:
·        Voice-activated personal assistants tell the news and weather and play Mad Libs or Name that Tune with your kids.
·        SmartTVs come with software already installed to stream Netflix or Disney+.
·        Doorbells with integrated cameras let you see on your phone who’s at the door.
·        Refrigerators keep track of what’s consumed and add to your online grocery list.

And that’s only a sampling! Homeowners don’t have to be tech-savvy to start outfitting their smart home yet adding all these connections could mean it’s time for a home network upgrade.

At a certain point, your router may not be enough to handle all the traffic. Your internet service provider may have provided you with its most basic router back when you signed up for your plan. You weren’t thinking of quantity of devices back then and simply wanted the best deal, but now you’re frustrated by performance and connectivity issues.

Don’t Settle for a Disappointing Network

A decade ago, having four to eight devices to connect at one time was a lot. Now, we’re looking at five to ten times that. Yet your bandwidth can handle only so much at one time. For many IoT devices, that’s not an issue, as they’re often designed to use as little bandwidth as possible. Yet the volume of devices adds up. Plus, as you’re not the only one in the neighborhood going online, you could be competing for a congested Wi-Fi service.

Or you might be stumped by Wi-Fi that can’t reach all the devices you want to connect in your home. You could try moving the router. If that isn’t enough, you could add more antennas or use a mesh wireless network to extend the range of your network.

Also consider whether you should be using a 5 GHz-capable wireless or 2.4 GHz. The 5 GHz frequency is newer, faster, and less congested but has a shorter range, which means its signal cannot penetrate solid objects.

Internet speed is another element worth examining. If you increase the speed, you’ll be better able to handle many streaming devices at once.

On the router, you can also check if you can adjust the Quality of Service (QoS). This would let you go in and change the priority of certain devices or connections. Think of it like being able to choose to go in the fast lane on the highway. You could set the router up to let Zoom or Skype calls have priority over Netflix.
With so many devices to connect now, you'll face a number of considerations when updating your network. If you need help upgrading, we can help. Contact us today at 940-282-0290.
Brian W. Norby
(Owner of both BWN Computer
AND That Computer Man)