Even since before the pandemic, cybersecurity was a major issue for both businesses and individuals, however the current world situation has made it even more of an important issue with so many people having to connect digitally instead of face to face.
You can be sure cyber scammers have not let this change go unnoticed and the number of cyber threats has rocketed in the past 18 months. Now more than ever before it’s important for companies and the general public to be aware of the various types of threats to the security of their digital devices, and here we’ll take a look at the five most common ones to prevent you from falling into the trap.
The clue is in the name, holding data to ransom for a price. Ransomware is a program that encrypts data on your system and effectively locks it up unless a key is used to unlock it and regain access. This type of attack is becoming more commonplace and is usually targeted at companies and larger organisations such as universities and hospitals due to the sensitive and vital information they may hold on customers, and their ability to pay the large sums requested to unlock the data.
However, millions of individuals are targeted each year too on their personal computers, with important files, videos and photos locked away and unable to be restored.
Aimed at both small businesses and individuals, phishing is a technique that tricks users into performing a certain action which gives power to the attacker, such as filling in details on a fake website or disclosing sensitive banking or security information. This can come in the form of an email where the phisher takes the form of a trusted person and ushers them to click a link or to download a file which then executes software to steal sensitive data.
Most of the time these attacks are easy to spot for the trained eye, but many times the scam works when the recipient’s guard is let down, and it only takes a second for the wrong action to be taken.
A wide-ranging type of attack that can be anything from computer code which acts in a malicious way on your system to viruses and hacks that can happen when you download items from the internet or open infected emails. Malware has the purpose of damaging entire systems, and crippling networking infrastructure, and oftentimes this can be very costly to repair or replace.
During this kind of attack, the system is wide open to the hacker and they are able to steal all kinds of valuable information from an organisation or individual. Most of the time, a good virus detection and malware sweeper is enough to detect, isolate and eliminate the threat, however these threats are becoming more and more sophisticated.
Hacking Weak Passwords
Let’s face it, the average person who is signed up to multiple websites and uses passwords to gain access to everything from their email to their work accounts will have more passwords than they can possibly remember. Due to this, most people choose a simple password such as a name and a set of numbers which is then repeated across all of their devices with little variation. This makes a hacker’s job very easy, as once they are able to crack on password, they will have instant access to the rest of the accounts using the same one.
Some websites and applications now demand stricter protocols, such as using capitals, multiple numbers and special characters, and this is then stored in password memory by our devices so we don’t have to remember them. Once a hacker has gained access to your account, they can take any number of decisions to steal your personal data and banking details to use maliciously.
Denial of Service (DoS)
This attack works by flooding a system with multiple requests so that it cannot process them all, and as such is unable to function properly. The ensuing attack leaves your computer very vulnerable and at this stage the attacker is able to inject malware to damage your system and steal valuable data.
Another term for this is distributed denial of service where the attack is started from a network, but there are also botnets and so-called zombie systems which do the same thing, but from a wide range of locations which makes tracing the attack virtually impossible.