INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The season of good cheer is also a season for evil, to some people.
An Internet security expert says computer criminals "follow an editorial calendar." Robert Siciliano of McAfee says "bad guys" use holidays such as Christmas as inspiration for their criminal activity.
They may send fake e-cards. They may send holiday-themed emails. They're "phishing." What they want is a click by an unsuspecting recipient. That could give the criminal some private information about the person who clicks on the message.
Phishing may also appear in the form of a message supposedly from UPS or FedEx encouraging people to click on a link in order to claim a shipment or track a package.
"Nothing good can come out of clicking on links in a phishing email," Siciliano said to 24-Hour News 8. "I always suggest that people hit delete."
Siciliano said web users need to be careful when clicking on messages in their inbox. (It's also his business to encourage people to invest in anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.)
Some security, though, must rely on good, old-fashioned self-control.
In the weeks ahead, we will see Facebook posts and tweets talking about Christmas vacations. Our friends will tell us where they're going and when they'll be gone. But, Siciliano says: don't share so much on social media — because the bad guys might be following you, too.
"Social media is, you know, people blabbing about their lives today and often they are providing enough intelligence to the bad guy to tell the bad guy where you are — to do harm to you — or where you aren't, to do harm to your stuff, your house," he said.
So, the advice is: be alert and think about how your information might be used against you.
Remember, the holidays offer an opportune time for computer criminals to steal — whether it's property or personal information they can get from users online.
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