The unfortunate truth about the internet is that every time we use it, we run the risk of a cyberattack. This is particularly true in a post-pandemic world, as more people are opting to work from home over the internet.
With Hackers using sophisticated algorithms and techniques to breach security systems, it is crucial to understand what to look out for. In this article, we’ll cover the most common IT security threats affecting individuals this year, and tell you what you can do to protect your data.
Ransomware attacks have exponentially increased in the past few years because hackers now target not only companies and businesses, but individuals. Simply put, ransomware is a type of virus that encrypts, deletes, or steals your data unless you pay a sum of money to the hacker. It locks the victim’s computer and does not allow any activity until the ransom is paid.
To stay safe from ransomware accounts, do not click on links that you do not trust. Download files only from safe websites with SSL encryption (watch out for the ‘lock’ symbol on the address bar). Back up your data regularly.
Phishing is an attack by which a hacker tricks victims into downloading malware or sharing sensitive information. Most phishing attacks start with fake emails or forms. Once you click on an unsecured link or download an attachment, the hackers install malware on your device.
Phishing is usually how ransomware attacks begin. To Prevent being a victim of phishing, do not open spam emails or click on links. Remember that legitimate businesses (like banks or companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) will never ask you for sensitive information like your ID and credit card number.
Short for malicious advertising, malvertising is an attack where a hacker uses online ads to install malware on victims’ devices. These ads are disguised to look like normal pop-ups and banner ads, and may even be found on legitimate websites like YouTube and Facebook. When you click on them, you might be prompted to download an app or an attachment. This installs viruses and ransomware on your device.
Protect yourself from malvertising attacks by taking a good look at ads before you click on them. Watch out for typos and grammatical errors in ads – they are a giveaway that the ad is not legitimate. Avoid clicking on any ad if possible – if you like a product displayed on an ad, Google it or type in the website’s URL instead of clicking on it.
Man In The Middle (MITM)
MITM attacks happen when you access sensitive information on a public WiFi network. Since public networks are not encrypted, a hacker can intercept communication between your device and the website you want to access. This allows them to intercept payments, download banking information, and steal passwords even without using malware.
To prevent this, avoid using public networks as much as possible. In case you have to, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your connection.
Developers release updates regularly not only because of new features but important security updates. When you don’t update the software on your computer or phone, you increase your risk of hacks and data breaches.
Developers may stop supporting earlier versions of apps after a probationary period. If your apps and software are still not updated, hackers can easily gain access to all your information since there is no security support.
To prevent this, update all apps and software regularly, particularly security updates. If you are not sure how to update your operating system, reach out to service agents of IT companies.
Although end users may not be responsible for data breaches, they are the most affected. Data breaches happen when hackers target huge companies that hold a lot of user information. Data breaches may compromise your login information and any data that you may have in the cloud.
There is not much you can do to prevent data breaches, as even legitimate companies like Apple and Facebook have been attacked. However, you can protect your information by using different login credentials for each account. Even if one account is compromised, hackers cannot use the same credentials to log in to another account – this protects your online identity.
There is no single method that will guarantee complete protection from cyber threats. However, with these steps, you can minimise the chances of hackers accessing your system, and prevent the loss of sensitive information.
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