There are countless security threats we face every day. Nothing is secure today in the world we live in. Cyber criminals are out there – waiting at every corner of this digital universe for an opportunity. The funny thing is that sometimes we provide them that opportunity. Yes! We unknowingly give away our confidential information and details that can be used to infiltrate our security.
Ask yourself – is your security invulnerable? Are there no loopholes in the measures you have adopted to prevent yourself from unauthorized access? When was the last time you updated you anti-virus. Ignorance often leads to catastrophic outcomes. Security and privacy are the priceless things you own; unfortunately, most of you realize it when deprived.
‘The best way to protect against a security breach is to be vigilant and proactive and to have a series of cyber plans’
Geraldine Magarey FCA Policy and Thought Leadership Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
We are here today to help you cope against the cybercrime. We will present some tips and tricks through which you can stay under the radar of the cyber-criminals hunting for the hosts like parasites. With a few easily implementable measures, you can actually make your security impenetrable for cyber-goons. First, it is mandatory to highlight the most commonly encountered cybercrimes; because, you simply can’t cure a disease without identifying it.
The Most Commonly Encountered Cybercrimes
Hacking is one of the most dangerous yet commonly witnessed cybercrime among all. Hacking is a process through which a cyber-goon can infiltrate your security and access your computer without your permission. Hacking however cannot be confined to accessing a personal computer only. Through hacking, cyber-goons take over gaming servers, websites and even an entire network.
Nonetheless, you need to focus on your system security only so let’s just stick to that for now. Hackers have diverse classifications – black hat hackers, grey hat hackers and white hat hackers etc. Except the white hat hackers (the ones who use their skills for good purposes), the majority of other classifications and their actions accompany an evil rationale – that is to infiltrate your security.
Spamming can also be called junk mail trick to manipulate users and for their private information. Spamming can be used for diverse purposes; however, the commonly known among them is phishing. Through these emails, spammers ask you to respond to a particular email and giveaway your details. They may also instruct you to install free software that may be of your use; but, it actually is a malware. These unknown senders can abuse your privacy or even lead you to bear financial losses.
Online identity theft is one of the ridiculous cybercrimes known. The origin of online identity theft is associated with the rapid advancements and adoption of the Internet. We nowadays have become so much reliant over online activities – we shop online, make reservations online, manage financial transactions online and even order food online. Hence, we need Internet wherever we go.
Cyber-goons realized it sooner than we thought and came up with a plan through which they can access our confidential and most sensitive data such as credit/debit card details, bank account details and other information they may use to exploit us financially or by any other means. This however is just the basic façade of identity theft.
The common mistake we all make today is to have just one password for different accounts. Majority of the naïve Netizens today find it hard to remember or even manager more than passwords; hence, they decide to go with just one. In addition, most of them have just one weak or moderately secured password for their online bank account, their Twitter account, their Facebook page, their MySpace and even their computer.
This makes it easy for cybercriminals to penetrate through your shallow security and steal your identity. They can easily crack that one password of yours and access your bank account, post status updates on your behalf and Tweet whatever the crap they like. In short, they simply become you. Many individuals around the globe have been victimized by identity thieves; especially, when it comes to financial matters.
Web Jacking and Ransomware
Web jacking sounds similar to hijacking – doesn’t it? Well actually it is indeed. Through web jacking, cyber-crooks take control over a website for any reason whatsoever. They can do anything with the website – change its content, dismantle its functions and even publish ridiculous memes over it. It is in their total control. The purpose behind these attacks is either grudge or monetary where cybercriminals demand ransom money in exchange of website’s control.
The use of a Ransomware is a tactic quite similar to this. With a Ransomware, a cybercriminal can take control over your personal computer, laptop, Smartphone and almost any device running an operating system. A Ransomware ceases all functions you may access using your computer or device. Cybercriminals often use Ransomware to infect a device and then ask for money in exchange of its functional restoration.
Phishing is another cybercrime you need to be aware of because it not only infiltrates your security but also violates your privacy. Through phishing attacks, cyber-crooks strive to access your personal and confidential data that may be used for diverse purposes. However, phishing attacks are usually backed by monetary intentions.
Cyber-goons usually target the debit/credit card information along with other details that they can use to access your financial reserves. The core motive behind phishing is to steal your money. Phishers usually collected this sort of information from different websites or e-mails where they ask you to giveaway your personal information and you willingly do so.
They lure you into their trap and most of you fall for their trick probably due to lack of awareness. So, always refrain from accessing un-trusted sites or even replying to the emails from unknown senders.
Tips and Tricks to Protect yourself from Cybercrime
1. Refrain from Accessing Un-trusted Wi-Fi Hotspot
An open Wi-Fi hotspot accompanies diverse risks that your device encounters once connected. Furthermore, an open network can be easily created by a hacker. Once you are connected to a fake network, hacker will have access to all the activities you perform online and even the transactions you make.
Most of the hackers make open networks just to lure you into the trap for their monetary motives. Hence, even if you access an open Wi-Fi hotspot – NEVER make financial transactions or bank online.
Furthermore, if you want to keep your identity safe and activities secure, use a VPN while connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot and simply mask your real IP – no one will be able to track you.
~ Cybercrime Is The Biggest Evolving Spurce Of Crime In The UK: The capability to investigate #cybercrime is one of the top challenges, particularly crime involving botnets, DDoS and malware. https://t.co/CBWmHDQF9f @MOPACLdn @metpoliceuk pic.twitter.com/hk6ALF9ds9
— CyberSecInt (@CyberSecInt) December 14, 2018
The risk is only increasing, therefore we must be more vigilant, cyber crime is one of the most growing illegal activity.
2. Have an Updated Antivirus Installed
An updated anti-virus can protect you against several unauthorized attacks. A good anti-virus prevents a Virus, Spyware, Malware and even Ransomware to infiltrate your security.
An anti-virus serves as a backup plan so that even if you accessed a file that you shouldn’t have or clicked on a malicious link – antivirus will take care of the mess.
3. Use a VPN
A VPN serves as a cure to your divergent concerns and remedy to different problems. Through a virtual private network, you can hide your real IP. This makes you and your online activities undetectable and untraceable. You can protect your financial transactions through a VPN even though you are connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
A VPN connects you to any server of your choice allowing you to hide your real IP. Once you are connected to a server, a VPN tunnels all your traffic and valuable data through that server – making your security invulnerable. Your identity cannot be compromised by the identity thieves if you use a VPN and refrain from some stupid mistakes I would discuss later.
4. Don’t Click a Suspicious Link
Hackers can lure you into their trap by attractive offers and promotions. Through a spam email, they may inquire your personal details or instruct you to click on the prescribed link. If you receive such suspicious emails where the sender is unknown to you – refrain from clicking the link prescribed or giveaway your personal details no matter how much attractive the offer is.
5. Never Giveaway your Personal Information Publicly
People often seem irresponsible when it comes to their personal information. They publicly disclose their details such as date of birth, address, cell number and other information. This is the common mistake that attract identity thieves. They can exploit your personal details in ways you can never imagine so for the sake of your own privacy – refrain from such dumb acts.
6. Never Store your Credit/Debit Card Details on Websites
I know time is money; but, your security is priceless. Most of you store their credit/debit card details on websites to save 2 minutes you will spend next time to put in the details again. Hackers are not confined to target you only; they target masses as well. These mass data security breaches encountered by websites and different other databases can cost you substantial damage.
7. Having a Strong Password
A strong password is difficult to crack. The most common mistake made by people is use of weak passwords. People prefer a weak password because it is just easy to remember such as their birth date, pet’s name, anniversary, girlfriend’s name and the list goes on. However, I believe that preferring a weak password is just a consequence of being naïve – not knowing the threats you may encounter. Here’s a list of the most ridiculous passwords that can easily be cracked.
Source: Huffington Post
HAHA Stifler strikes!
There are five types of fear.
3. 14 missed calls from mom
4: username or password is incorrect
5. we need to talk
— Steve Stifler (@StevStiffler) January 23, 2014
A strong password is an amalgamation of uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers and symbols; something like this: ATq@ku93/^#pO6
8. Don’t Rely on a Single Password for All Accounts
One of the most stupid things we do is that we rely on a single password for every account we own. People often have a single password for their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Snapchat, Gmail, YMail, AOL and even for their banks. This is more ridiculous than having a weak password.
This makes you extremely vulnerable to a hack attach. Suppose if a hacker successfully cracks your password – he will have complete access of everything you own digitally. As a matter of fact, he can easily steal your identity – and trust me there are people who can do it in a blink of an eye.
9. Two-Step Verification
Two-step verification serves as a rigid barrier to the one who tries to hack your account. Many service providers such as Facebook, Apple, Dropbox and Gmail offer this exceptional feature. However, most of you don’t even bother to consider this simplest security measure. So, those who haven’t activated two-step verification even if it is offered by the service provider – for heaven’s sake please take your security seriously at least once in your life.
Two-step verification requires your cell number and sends a verification code every time you access your account. The use of two-step verification prohibits unauthorized users to access your account. These unauthorized individuals can never access your accounts unless they have mugged you of your cell phone already.
10. Trust HTTPS Only
While you shop online – shop on the trusted websites. The best way to identify a trusted website is via its URL. When you access any online shopping website – note if HTTP changes to HTTPS. If it remains HTTP or changes back from HTTPS to HTTP again – the website is probably not a trusted one.
Your online security too is incumbent amongst the most significant things you possess so don’t spoil it with your carelessness. Programmers and digital goons are more active than at any other time now. So, it is high time to take an initiative.
A VPN and an antivirus can make your security strong and your protection unblemished; however it is easy to make some silly errors while on the web.
Through such guileless activities, you intentionally offer your protection and security in a plate to the cybercriminals. In this situation, even the most modern and useful assets, for example, VPN and Antivirus won’t help you.