"During this time of year we tend to see a lot of scam emails, many pretending to be from the IRS," says Touchette. "It may seem convenient but don't be tempted to use any open Wi-Fi spot to do any sensitive transactions. Cyber criminals with enough know-how can easily intercept and steal your account information."
According to the Internal Revenue Service, 90 million tax returns were filed electronically last year, about one third of which were done by home computers. That in mind, Touchette offers the following tips on how to file online taxes securely:
1. Online fraudsters (a.k.a. "phishers") will attempt to contact taxpayers via email, whereas the IRS will never initiate contact with a taxpayer through email.
2. The IRS will never ask for PIN numbers or credit card information via email.
3. Never click on a link, or an attachment, from an unsolicited email.
4. Never conduct unsecured transactions that include any account or password information over public hotspots, such as airports, hotels, libraries, restaurants, cafes, or other locations that offer free Wi-Fi.
5. Always completely log out of sensitive sites. It is possible for an attacker to hijack a browsing session that has been left open.
6. Avoid using the same computer your children use. A good portion of online scams target today's youth, which often leave machines infected.
7. Remain vigilant and try to use simple logic - if it seems too good to be true, and is sitting in your Inbox, delete it.
8. Before entering sensitive information into a website, look for the security padlock symbol.
9. Create strong passwords; choose passwords that are complex and utilize a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
10. Limit your exposure through email and the Web to cybercrime. It is perhaps online behavior that bears the most scrutiny. Mitigating your risk through the use of reliable email and Web filtering solutions is essential.
AppRiver has a deep, experienced team of security experts actively monitoring cyber risks on a 24/7 basis. AppRiver posts its findings to its FaceBook page, as well as to the AppRiver Daily Blog and to Twitter from the @appriver handle in near real-time after discovery. This, in turn, helps to give businesses and the general public a quick alert in the company's ongoing effort to shield them from new and evolving Internet threats. The research also leads to immediate and constant improvements to AppRiver's security posture, protecting clients from ever-changing threats while striking a balance between security, compliance and productivity.
AppRiver is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider offering award-winning email and Web security solutions to businesses of all sizes. Understanding the need to protect networks from today's increasingly complex IT threats, AppRiver offers businesses a comprehensive, yet affordable subscription-based solution that incorporates the latest spam and virus protection, email encryption and Web security on the market. In addition, the company provides a complete managed service for Microsoftr Exchange. Since its inception, AppRiver has sustained an impressive 95% customer retention rate while growing its customer base to more than 45,000 companies and over 6 million mailboxes worldwide. The company is led by a 2009 Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, and has been identified as one of the Coolest Cloud Security Vendors in 2010 by Everything Channel's CRN magazine. For more information, please visit www.appriver.com.