The internet offers us many incredible platforms to do amazing things. The problem is that every day we use online services we are exposing ourselves to numerous cyber threats? And these threats have been increasing at an alarming pace over the past two years since the pandemic. In this article I will cover various security threats that you can improve today!
Here are six threats to your online security:
- Weak Passwords
- Outdated System OS
- Viruses and Malware Threats
- Phishing Attacks
- Malicious Website Links
- Public Hotspots & Privacy
Setting weak passwords is one of the most common mistakes people make. And this is what cybercriminals hope you will neglect. Because they use techniques called Bruteforce attacks, that use password tools to try to crack your passwords using password combinations.
“A brute force attack is a hacking method that uses trial and error to crack passwords, login credentials, and encryption keys. The hacker tries multiple usernames and passwords, often using a computer to test a wide range of combinations until they find the correct login information.” – Fortinet.
This is the reason most online services will encourage you to set strong passwords. Try using a combination of capital letters, small letters, special characters, numbers in strange combinations. The more complex the password, the more difficult it will be to guess your password. And this will minimize the risk of such attacks.
But keeping track of all your digital accounts can be a nightmare! And remembering every password becomes almost impossible. But there is a better way that can save you the headache of remembering them. Password Managers are the solution. They can assist you in creating highly complex passwords nearly impossible to guess. If you’ve had enough of remembering all your account details, consider one of these password managers : Keeper Security, Dashlane, or LastPass, all trustworthy and respected apps.
Outdated System OS
Your operating system is the foundation of your device. If you have outdated components that are vulnerable to exploits, you will be leaving your computer open to attack. All operating systems offer the ability to set updates automatically. But not always! So make sure, double-check your updates are downloading and installing regularly.
This goes for Windows, Mac, and Android devices, so there is no excuse for not having your device uptodate with the latest security patches.
NOTE: Some older Android devices may only update to a specific version, and you may need to upgrade your device to get the latest OS.
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Viruses and Malware Threats
“Malware increased by 358% in 2020 “A research study conducted by Deep Instinct reports on the hundreds of millions of attempted cyberattacks that occurred every day throughout 2020 showing malware increased by 358% overall and ransomware increased by 435% as compared with 2019.”Malware increased by 358% in 2020 – Help Net Security”
Malware has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past two years. Now more than ever it is critical that you protect yourself from these threats. One way to improve the security of your system is to install Anti-virus software. This software acts as a shield against various malicious exploits that you can experience while using the internet, receiving emails, or copying files from an external drive to your computer.
Because these apps update constantly they can react to new outbreaks of viruses and malware as they happen. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to protect your devices even if you have little knowledge of viruses and other cyber threats. Security software like Kaspersky Internet Security or Bit Defenders Internet Security offers solutions that take care of these issues in the background while you work.
“Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent (e.g., spoofed, fake, or otherwise deceptive) message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim’s infrastructure like ransomware.
Phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and often transparently mirror the site being targeted, allowing the attacker to observe everything while the victim is navigating the site, and transverse any additional security boundaries with the victim. As of 2020, phishing is by far the most common attack performed by cybercriminals, with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre recording over twice as many incidents of phishing than any other type of computer crime.” – Wikipedia
As stated phishing is a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. And being aware of the way attackers work will help you be better prepared for when they try to con you. The key is not trusting any email that asks you to reset your password or submit sensitive data. Rather first clarify who is asking for this information, and contact the company directly to clarify that this is legit or a scam.
Malicious Website Links
When browsing the internet it’s always best to browse trustworthy sites. One of the ways you can easily launch malware is by clicking on links that are malicious. Once you’ve clicked on a link, code can be executed if you don’t have any browser protection. This can infect your browser and device, which could lead to unwanted security issues.
Malicious links are often found in emails. When receiving emails be sure it’s from someone you know. But considering that viruses can send emails from infected devices, if a message seems a bit strange, don’t just trust it. Best not to follow any links in the message unless you are sure it’s safe. You just don’t know where it is linking to, and if it is safe. And although security software can protect you, prevention is better than a cure.
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Public Hotspots & Privacy
As mobile working has become the new norm, many people are working from public places where wifi hotspots are available. The thing is that when you log onto these networks, you are opening your device to attack. Your connection to the web is not encrypted, and some of that information can compromise your security. A hacker that is on that network can attempt to compromise your device or see what data is being sent from your device.
A VPN or Virtual Private Network service can create a secure encrypted connection so no one on the public network can see the information you are sending or receiving. Examples of VPN services are ExpressVPN and NordVPN, both highly reputable companies.
Cybersecurity is a complex subject. And these six points are just some simple ways you can begin to take control of your digital security. It’s by no means the end of it. But by taking steps like this you can reduce the risk of falling prey to malicious tactics. Software and apps can make security easier to manage, but software isn’t perfect. It’s up to us to be vigilant and react to any suspicious activity that we see happening on our devices…
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