Hackers have been causing problems for individuals and businesses alike for a long time. However, each year we find that cybercriminals tend to focus on new or different strategies to achieve their goals. As such, it’s crucial to stay up to date on trends in this area.
There are numerous cybersecurity threats you need to be concerned about right now if you’re to keep your data protected.
Growth in Phishing
Phishing is the practice where hackers send emails, pretending to be from a reputable company to deliver malware to a system, or get people to reveal their personal information. While this tactic has been around for years, it continues to be a threat and remains one of the most common strategies cybercriminals use. Lately, as increasing numbers of consumers utilize software-as-a-source products like Dropbox, Slack, and Office 365 programs, hackers are becoming more adept at using astute impersonation skills to appear to be from these types of trusted companies.
Cybercriminals are using sophisticated techniques, such as advance social engineering strategies (through human interactions and manipulations, often done across multiple steps) to achieve their goals. Phishing content is also now more relevant to potential victims and likely to attract their interest. As a result, even people who feel they are tech-savvy are getting stung by phishing attacks.
To stay safe, then, use quality, comprehensive security software that will help to prevent anyone logging into your system remotely using stolen credentials. Also, be more careful about which emails and attachments you open. Learn about the differences that occur between real emails and hacker-generated ones (such as email addresses that aren’t correct, logo colors that don’t seem quite right, and unusual requests for information), so you can recognize the subtle clues and avoid an attack.
IoT Device Threats
Another vehicle hackers are increasingly using is the Internet of Things (IoT). With so many internet-connected devices hooked up around the world now, in homes, businesses, and public places, there is much scope for digital break-ins.
Hackers know many people don’t change the default settings on their smart devices when they buy them, which leaves the gear more vulnerable to attack. Plus, not everyone password protects their Wi-Fi, and people don’t always update the software or firmware for their products either. This all leaves tech easier to break into.
If you use any smart products in your life, take steps to block hackers from being able to use them to crash systems, steal information, or hold data stored in connected networks for ransom. Change default settings as soon as you purchase products, put hard-to-crack passwords on your Wi-Fi routers, and always run updates when developers release them, so you know potential security holes are plugged.
Basic Antivirus Isn’t Enough
Cybercriminals have been coming up with computer viruses for decades to hack into systems. However, this year we’ve seen attacks become increasingly sophisticated and complex, meaning the basic antivirus programs many people use, including free options, are less and less effective.
Simple antivirus solutions now aren’t agile enough to keep up with modern ransomware, phishing, and other malware attacks. This means consumers must switch to more advanced, comprehensive antivirus protection products that cover against a wide variety of threats, get updated with new features regularly, and make it hard for hackers to break in.
Hackers Going After Smaller Fish to Catch Bigger Ones
Another change is that hackers are now more often going after “smaller fish,” such as individuals and small organizations, as a way to catch bigger ones, like large corporations or government departments. Big organizations are having their customer data compromised by hackers who have achieved access by first attacking smaller subcontractors or other connected partners.
Since so many people use the same password across multiple platforms and accounts, hackers only need to learn one code to be then able to use that information to infiltrate a wide variety of other accounts, both business and personal.
To stay safe, create different passwords for different logins. Also, change these codes every few months. Try to use more websites that require multifactor authentication (MFA), too. This security is in place anytime you have to verify your identity in at least a couple of ways before you can login. For example, many bank accounts now require users to input a code sent to their smartphone before they can login or complete a transaction with just their standard username and password.
With other cybersecurity threats increasing right now too, such as mobile malware, ransomware, and botnets, you can see how important it is to stay informed about hackers’ latest techniques. Follow the tips above, and consider your security every time you login or browse online, and you will be much less likely to be compromised by a cybercriminal’s attack.