Cyber-Crime and Computer Bugs Increase Consumer Anxiety Reports Better Business Bureau

CHICAGO, IL – American consumers fear their identity being hacked more than any other crime, according to a recent Gallup study. It’s not a minor concern as 69% of consumers polled feel that way. The fear follows cyber-attacks against Target, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot and other retailers. Add programming flaws such as the recent “Shellshock/Bash Bug” to that and previously, “Heartbleed”, plus the potential harm that can be done to computers, laptops, servers and personal devices. While warning against undo worry, because of bugs like “Shellshock/Bash bug” the Better Business Bureau recommends consumers take steps to protect themselves.

“Shellshock/Bash bug” is a system flaw effecting machines using Unix-based systems including Linux and Mac OS X. Security experts say this vulnerability is more serious than others because of the number of devices it can affect. The list includes servers, routers for home use, Android phones, Mac computers, medical devices, printers, even systems that run power plants and municipal water systems.

“This system flaw has been around for at least 25 years but it was just discovered,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The real concern for everyone is that this bug allows a hacker to not only take control of the computer or device, but to tell it or others what to do.”

With the possibility that “Shellshock/Bash bug” could expose individuals to potential fraud, financial loss, or access to confidential information consumers need to be alert and monitor their accounts.

With thousands of devices that use these operating systems and connect to the internet, it is important to follow these steps if you have concerns:

  • Make sure you have a firewall installed.
  • Apply patches for routers, computers and other devices as they are available.
  • Run up-to-date- security software on your devices.
  • If you have specific questions, contact your manufacturer.
  • Monitor all credit and debit card accounts.
  • Change your passwords to protect your personal and financial information and to restrict access to those accounts.

Bernas noted “Most experts agree that issues with computers and the internet, such as these with “Shellshock” and “Heartbleed”, will not go away and that we’ll have to continue to be aware of the technological risks.”

For tips on cyber-safety, visit bbb.org and for the latest, check out our blog, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.