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TV & streaming

Don’t click on these dangerous phishing websites

With millions of Americans at home, cybercriminals are scrambling to change targets. Instead of the old run-of-the-mill tactics, crooks are focused on people working from home or looking for ways to stay entertained online. Ruthless, right?

We’ve already seen an elaborate scheme where scammers are using stimulus checks as bait. Tap or click here for ways to protect against this nasty scam.

But stealing economic impact payments isn’t enough to satisfy the dregs of society. They’re also going after your Netflix account to rip off payment information and credentials. What can you do? Keep reading.

Are you sure that’s Netflix?

We’ve been warning you a lot about spoofed websites lately and for good reason. They’re popping up everywhere.

In fact, researchers at Check Point said they’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of coronavirus-related domains. More than 30,000 were registered in just the last two weeks and nearly 10% were malicious or are under investigation.

Lots of those malicious domains are targeting Netflix and Zoom users. Both of these sites are massive targets now that tons of people are using them while staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Hackers are making malicious copycats of this WFH site

Why is Zoom such a big target? To start, usage is through the roof. Zoom has seen a 1,900% increase in active users from December to March.

Trolls are using new tactics to terrorize all those users. So-called Zoombombing is where someone takes over a Zoom chat to bombard participants with pornography and malicious links. Tap or click here for ways to block those obnoxious attacks.

But the scariest news is how Netflix and Zoom are being spoofed. Cybercriminals have turned spoofing into a master craft, making fake sites look exactly like the real thing.

The normal security tricks we’d offer — like double-checking the URL — just won’t cut it. Hackers are tweaking web addresses just a little, so if you look at the URL in your browser, you won’t suspect a thing.

These sites are home to phishing attacks. Criminals trick you into visiting a spoofed site and once you’re there, you enter your login credentials or payment information.

Just like that, you’ve been ripped off. You think you’re logging into Netflix, but you’re actually handing over banking information to the bad guys. How can you avoid falling victim? Here are a few suggestions.

Be wary of search results and links

Now that cybercriminals have mastered the art of spoofing, you can’t be sloppy. Instead of searching in your browser for a site like Netflix and clicking on a result, type the official web address directly into your browser. That way you know you’re on the actual site.

Be just as careful when it comes to emails and text messages. Do not follow links found inside unsolicited messages. More than likely, these are fishing attacks.

Protect sensitive data

Scammers aren’t stupid, and their tactics are getting better and better. It’s easy to get fooled. Here’s a rule of thumb: If you receive an unsolicited email, never send a payment or reply with personal information.

If a company that you do business with sends you a text or email asking for personal information or payment, type the official web address into your browser. If it’s a financial institution and you need to speak with a rep, call the number found on the back of your credit or debit card.

Use strong, unique passwords

Honesty time. How many accounts do you have that share the same password? It’s common practice, but it’s terrible for your online security. If your credentials are stolen from one site, criminals have access to all your other accounts, too.

Make sure you have unique passwords for every online account and don’t use something simple to crack like password123. Tap or click here to find out how to create stronger passwords. It’s well worth your time.

How to lock down your Netflix account

How much more TV are you watching these days? New Nielsen data shows Americans streamed 85% more minutes of video this March compared to March 2019.

Netflix just rolled out a new feature when we need it most. You can now protect your profile with a PIN.

If someone has your password — either because you or someone else gave it to them — you won’t have to worry about them getting into your profile. They’ll be prompted to create their own. For one, this will tip you off that someone else is using your account.

A PIN will also keep the moochers in your life from messing up where you left off on a show or changing your personalized recommendations.

Netflix is advertising the PIN feature as a way to lock down your account with parental controls, too. It’s a surefire way to restrict kids to using only their own profiles, which can be set to child-friendly content only.

Parents can limit what children have access to and even block specific titles. Now you won’t have to worry about them watching the misadventures of Joe Exotic in “Tiger King.”

We’re not sure what took Netflix so long to roll out this feature. It would have been welcome before sheltering in place.

If you want to add a PIN to your Netflix profile, here’s how:

  • From a web browser, go to your Account page.
  • Open the Profile & Parental Controls settings for the profile you want to lock.
  • Change the Profile Lock setting.
  • Enter your Netflix account password.
  • Check the box to Require a Pin to access the selected profile.
  • To remove the PIN requirement, uncheck the box.
  • Enter four numbers to create your Profile Lock Pin. Unless you’re using an unsupported device, you will enter this PIN to enter the profile or play titles downloaded from it.
  • If you want to require a PIN any time a new profile is added to your account, select Require PIN to add new profiles.
  • Select Submit.

Note: You may need to refresh or restart your device. To refresh, switch to another profile, then switch back. Or sign out of your device and sign back in.

That’s it. Now your Netflix profile is PIN protected. Any time you have a chance to secure your online accounts, we recommend doing it.

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