Computers have changed the way that society operates in many ways. Nearly everything from banking information to health records are handled digitally via computers. This new convenient way of living has, unfortunately, made everyone vulnerable to cyber attacks. If you’re unaware of the threats that hackers present, you may ask, “what is a cyber attack and how does it impact me?” A cyber attack is a crime that’s carried out on a computer network. It can lead to identity theft, financial crimes, and total loss of privacy. Here are three reasons why hacking keeps getting easier and ways to protect yourself against cyber attacks.
Software developers and other information technology (IT) professionals recognize the threat of cyber attacks and aim to make computing products that are as secure as possible. They even publish software patches and updates that eliminate vulnerabilities in existing applications. However, mobile app development is growing by leaps and bounds, and many of these apps are susceptible to hacking.
Hackers also have more software tools available to them that make it easier to carry out cyber attacks. An example of this ransomware. Ransomware infects computer files and encrypts them so that file owners can’t access them. It can also shut your computer down altogether. The cyber criminal doesn’t release the computer or its files until he or she receives a ransom payment. Today’s cyber criminals use the software-as-a-service model to rent ransomware from other criminals via the dark web. A ransomware-as-a-service product called Stampado debuted at $39 for a lifetime license in 2016 making it a cost-effective hacking solution.
A good way to protect yourself against these types of cyber attacks is to make sure that your software has the latest security-related patches. You’ll also want to activate your email provider’s content scanning and filtering services. They help to flag suspicious attachments that could be masking ransomware.
Phishing scams are some of the most common types of cyber crimes that lead to computer hacking. It often happens when a hacker sends a targeted person an email that urges them to give out personal information. The information is used to hack into computer networks or online banking accounts to do mischief. Getting access to personal data used to be a chore for hackers, but social media has made the task much easier.
You can protect yourself from many cyber attacks by not giving out personal information on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. If you trust these platforms with your personal data, at least limit who gets access to the data using their privacy tools.
Unsecured WiFi Networks
Everyone loves using free WiFi while enjoying a hot drink at their local coffee house, and that includes hackers. While open WiFi networks offer unparalleled convenience when you need to check your bank account on the go, they also present unmatched opportunities for hackers to intercept your personal or financial data and perform cyber attacks.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) to surf the net is the best way to prevent cyber stalking and computer hacking when using public networks. You can get a VPN service that allows you to cover your home-office laptop, your travel tablet, and your smartphone.
Even when taking the right precautions, you may still fall prey to a cyber attack. If this happens, don’t ignore it. Hackers are getting the upper hand in the cyber security war because their tactics often go unnoticed by law enforcement officials for long periods of time. To make investigators aware of the latest cyber attacks, report computer hacking to your local Federal Bureau of Investigation office or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The fact that the FBI has designated a center for cyber crime complaints indicates the severity of the problem.