Cybersecurity has always been a pressing problem for companies and regular netizens alike. Ever since the internet became a global phenomenon, malicious people looked for ways to steal people’s information and use it against them. The number of threats increases with each day, and people might find it difficult to cope. While some mitigation practices have been perfected to an extent, no one is completely safe online.
So, as protection and guidelines become tighter, the hackers work even harder to come up with ways to break through these security walls. Some cyberattacks target the biggest corporations and companies, affecting millions of users. However, there are many threats that can directly affect individuals without using a flawed company’s system. Let’s take a look at the biggest threats online and the ways you can defend yourself.
Phishing is one of the oldest methods used by hackers to extract information from companies as well as individual users. For the most part, social engineering plays a vital role in the way phishing scams operate. Usually, malicious actors pose as reputable representatives of companies or organizations. In some cases, you might receive deceptive emails that insist you should claim a prize. In reality, cybercriminals impersonate other people for a variety of reasons. It might be that the fake email urges you to download a file. Sadly, this might be a malicious application, disguised as a legitimate one.
In other cases, phishing scams might take longer as the victim engages in a back and forth communication with the crook. During this conversation, the con artist might urge you to reveal personal information (bank details, social security numbers). Additionally, hackers can also require you to make a transaction. The best way to protect yourself is to be vigilant. Never open emails from unreliable sources. If you happen to open it, do not click on any links or download files.
Evolving Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware is one of the most dangerous forms of cyberattacks. They work on a very simple principle. A malicious application slithers into your device. Then, the malicious program encrypts all your data and displays a ransom note on your desktop or in a text file. Usually, hackers require ransoms in cryptocurrencies because such transactions cannot be traced. However, even if you do pay crooks for the decryption of your files, you do not always get your files back. Some hackers might disappear, leaving you with encrypted files. How to evade ransomware? Use sophisticated anti-malware tools and avoid downloading programs or files from suspicious sources.
Cryptocurrency mining is all the craze right now. However, hackers do not intend to purchase equipment for these activities. Instead, they target unsuspecting netizens and use their computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. How do you become infected with such a parasite? Hackers might use a deceptive email to get you to click on a link.
Sadly, it is quite difficult to determine that you have been affected by cryptojacking. The only prevalent symptom is the slower performance of your computer. If your CPU processing use is high, even though you barely have any apps open, you might be a victim of this sneaky attack.
IoT stands for the Internet of Things, so the attacks against these devices basically include all the internet-connected gadgets. It’s estimated that over 75 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2025. That includes PCs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, webcams, smartwatches, manufacturing equipment, and anything else that can be accessed remotely. So, if hackers manage to get access to such devices, your privacy might be in danger. Depending on the device that you use, there are many ways to protect IoT devices from being involved in malicious activities.
Many of us keep our valuable data in various cloud storage platforms instead of our devices. However, a study shows that cloud services are becoming popular targets for hackers. In fact, the detected attacks doubled in 2019, making cloud environments of the most dominant targets for crooks. So, while you might assume that cloud services are safe, you might want to avoid storing highly valuable data in them.
Malware attacks are also one of the oldest methods of stealing information. The hackers always find new ways to infect your device with malicious software without you even knowing. They usually include malicious files in free software programs you can download, torrent files, and other similar content. If your anti-malware software isn’t up to date, you could become a victim whenever you download something.
Keep Your Eyes Open
So, there are many threats online: some of them are more fatal than others. However, all of them can lead to financial or data losses. While companies are eager to take action and craft comprehensive security systems, enhanced with frequent penetration testing, the same does not apply to regular netizens. Many still take cybersecurity for granted. We encourage you to take action as well.
Download reliable anti-malware tools to protect yourself from malicious programs. In other cases, you should bear in mind that many phishing scams or identity thefts occur because hackers manage to intercept connections. For this purpose, you should consider using a VPN on smartphone and your computer. A Virtual Private Network will encrypt all your traffic and ensure that no one can track your online activities (not even your Internet Service Provider).