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Con artists have devised clever ways to trick people into revealing personal information online, including schemes known as "phishing" and "pharming." Precautions taken by HI529 - Hawaii's College Savings Program -and you- can help keep your information secure.
Here's what you need to do
As you conduct business online, taking a few simple precautions can go a long way toward protecting your personal information.
Phishing attacks seek to gather personal information, such as Social Security numbers, online User Name and passwords, to access victims' accounts. A phishing attack often appears as an unsolicited, but authentic looking, e-mail that may threaten to close your account unless you verify some information. Although the links in the message may look like your financial institution's website address, they point to a fake website that gathers the information you enter. Criminals then use that information to steal a person's identity.
Phishing e-mails typically include typos and other mistakes, terms the company may not use, or e-mail addresses that look different than ones the company uses.
Pharming is another type of online attack where website names (such as https://www.hi529.com/) are changed to point to an attacker's numeric Internet address (the "IP address") instead of HI529 - Hawaii's College Savings Program's legitimate IP address. Successful pharming attacks are less common than they were a few years ago; however, it's possible for an attack to be temporarily successful against poorly protected servers.
To guard against pharming, HI529 - Hawaii's College Savings Program webpages that display your account information, or allow you to make changes, use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL webpages start with "https://" instead of "http://." One of the advantages of SSL is that your Web browser verifies the identity of the server. If an attacker successfully changed a website name so that a secure https://www.hi529.com/ address brought you to an attacker's site that looked like https://www.hi529.com/, your browser would display a warning. The warning would say the name on the certificate does not match the name of the site. If you encounter a similar message, don't access the page. Immediately contact 866-529-3343 for assistance.
SSL is a protocol developed for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data. A public key, which is known to everyone, and a private or secret key, known only to the recipient of the message. URLs that require an SSL connection start with "https://" instead of "http://."
Test Your Anti-Phishing Knowledge
Here is a link where you can test your knowledge on common Phishing and Pharming attacks, https://www.phish-no-phish.com/.
Upromise is an optional service offered by Upromise, Inc., is separate from the Hawaii College Savings Program, and is not affiliated with the State of Hawaii. Terms and conditions apply to the Upromise service. Participating companies, contribution levels, and terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. Transfers from Upromise to a Hawaii College Savings Program account are subject to a $25 minimum.
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