As the number of Internet users has surged in recent years, so have the security risks and cyber threats, in particular. With the explosive growth of social media networks, more and more people make their personal and business information openly available. As well as data leakage and theft, cyber threats to watch for abound, including hacking, phishing, ransomware, and insider threat. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your data and identity online and avoid getting into trouble.
Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing scams make use of different methods to steal credit card numbers, login credentials, and other sensitive data. This can be done through malicious emails and URLs, text messages, or fake tweets or posts that encourage users to download malware or share personal information. To avoid becoming victim of scammers, you should never click on unsecure links or open attachments or emails from an unknown sender. Stay away from anyone requesting donations for causes you know nothing about and anyone offering lucrative job opportunities or money.
Never Use Weak Passwords
The problem with passwords is that many people choose easy ones like 56789 which can be easily decoded or cracked. Also, there are different databases with lists that hackers use to guess and attack passwords. To protect yourself online, you should never use a number, word, or phrase that hackers can associate with your employer, phone number, home address, child or spouse’s name, or your first or last name. Instead, only use passwords that are difficult for cyber criminals to decipher, like using special characters, mixing numbers and letters, and combining lower and uppercase letters.
Avoid Unsecure Websites
Keep All Devices Up to Date
Having the latest operating system, browser, and security software is one way to ensure you are protected against malware, viruses, and other security threats. While security software does not offer protection against every single threat out there, it can detect most types of malware. Antivirus software offers many advantages should you bother to install the newest fixes they have. It will protect your computer from viruses that cause frequent crashes and data loss, delete or damage files, and slow down your device. You also need a firewall that monitors all outgoing and incoming traffic from your device and network. Combined with security software, firewalls monitor every piece of data or file that is transferred online to another network.
Educate Yourself and Your Family
You should take time to educate yourself about some common security threats that target online users and their personal and financial information. Such are, for example, SQL injections, malware, denial of service, emotet, and man-in-the-middle attacks. Malware can take different forms, including worms, viruses, ransomware, and spyware that can make your operational system inoperable, transmit data, and block access to network components. Emotet malware is a more advanced type of Trojan that is mainly spread through spam email and can easily spread to connected devices. The infection may arrive in different ways such as a malicious link, macro-enabled document files, or a malicious script. The software gains access to your contact list to spread itself to clients, colleagues, family, and friends. Everyone can be the target, including government agencies, businesses, and individuals, with cons stealing financial data, banking logins, and Bitcoin wallets.
New Cybersecurity Threats to Watch for
In today’s technology-driven world, data storage on devices and the Internet of Things provide an access point for cyber criminals. The Internet of Things refers to devices that are equipped with software, processing capabilities, and sensors to connect and communicate with other devices. Cyber security reports show that criminals are increasingly targeting IoT and smart home devices, including connected mobile phones and baby monitors, voice assistants, and smart TVs. By gaining access to your Wi-Fi, criminals can also access your website passwords, bank statements, medical records, and other sensitive details.
In fact, the explosion of data has resulted in huge amounts of data stored on mobile devices, computers, and laptops. Using portable devices, in particular, increases the risk of network-based attacks. Such portable devices include both smart and simple media devices that transfer data. Simple media devices are, for example, music players, DVDs, media cards, and jump drivers that can transfer data through a wired connection. Smart media devices include e-readers, gaming devices, and tablets that use a non-cellular or wired connection to transfer data. They are typically used to download books, music, or applications, browse the Internet, or access email. Smart devices can infect your network or computer when used to download applications and games. The problem with smart devices is that users often store their client information or bank credentials on devices where they also use untrusted applications. Finally, a potential security risk is also the fact that smart and storage devices are portable and small in size. This means you can easily leave them in the library, cab, train, or café. If you use them to store personal financial or proprietary client information, you can easily become victim of cyber criminals looking for sensitive information to pilfer.