New Vulnerabilities to Watch Out for
Today’s generation is plagued with cybercrimes which are happening day by day. Hackers are discovering new vulnerabilities in networks and exploiting them to their advantage. In the past year alone, 3-billion Yahoo accounts were hacked which has been recorded as the biggest attack on a company ever.
Worse, hackers do not care about the size or worth of a business. Their main aim is to gain an advantage such as earn money or get private information. When you’re off the office network, breaches could occur in many ways.
Phishing is whereby cybercriminals pose as legitimate entities with the sole aim of gaining your trust and thereby giving them access to your private account or personal data. Such attacks come in the form of emails, telephone calls or even texts.
These attacks aim to get you to provide usernames and passwords, viruses or credit card information. For example, you could receive an email update from someone posing as your company’s IT officer informing you that your office login credentials have been hacked and they need to be changed.
You unknowingly then open the link and give your old password and new password. The cybercriminal on the other end uses the old credentials to log in to your office servers and steal data.
The email may contain a link that directs you to a page where you may download a virus into your computer. The virus then starts collecting data from your computer and sends it back to the hacker.
It is, therefore, safer to be cautious especially with links and emails that require you to provide personal information or login keys. Look for spelling or grammatical errors in email addresses. For example, they may use an address such as email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org.
The l in the phishing email’s Gmail is very similar to the actual ‘i’ in Gmail which may be confusing to many and people would probably shrug it off as a minor mistake. It is therefore essential to take time and assess the situation before providing personal data or downloading anything from suspicious links.
2. Malicious Mobile Apps
For most people, it is a common belief that any application in the play store or Appstore is safe and legitimate. However, this is not the case as an application could be containing lines of code that may put your device at risk of exploitation.
These apps may contain lines of code that are malware in the real sense. Furthermore, these apps may request unnecessary permissions to access and extract contact information, personal private media, emails, messages, and stored passwords.
The Permissions Which Can Be Exploited by a Hacker Include;
An app with access to your accounts has access to your contacts and email addresses. The hacker receiving this data could use it to exploit your friends’ trust in you. They could send an email using your account for phishing purposes.
The app can use your SMS for phishing attempts or sending personal information to hackers.
An app with microphone access can exploit and use the microphone to record private conversations. A hacker could access your conversation with maybe your bank agent or CTO. This is also a common way in which trade secrets are stolen.
Device Administrator Capabilities Access
Apps requesting to be given administrator privileges are apps that work at the core center of the phone. If a hacker could exploit these privileges, they can track and follow your movements in Realtime.
They would, of course, have the ability to lock and erase your phone or hold the phone for ransom remotely.
To stay safe, it is then advisable to carefully scrutinize app permissions before downloading them, checking comments about applications, avoiding third-party app providers or even cracked applications.
Malware Is commonly defined as software that is malicious and is built for the sole purpose of compromising a system and stealing the information available in the system.
This malicious software can access private data, modify the core functionality of the system and also track the user’s activities. It is more like someone watching you without your knowledge.
Access to your system may be gained when you download and run pirated software or when you use operating systems that have not been updated to the latest version.
The Main Types of Malware Include;
Trojans create access points; backdoors to systems, which are used by the hacker to access your system for exploitation. It is commonly included in legitimate software that has been compromised.
Viruses have for a long time been known to have the ability to modify systems, replicate and destroy data.
Spyware is software that runs on your system’s background and can monitor every action you take using your microphone, webcam, or track actions on websites.
These are spyware whose primary purpose is to record and send keystrokes to hackers. These keystrokes are usually passwords, credit card information or even chats.
The keylogger records the times you use a specific combination of keywords and a hacker with this information could easily access your accounts.
The best way to counter such attempts would be the use of a legitimate premium anti-virus software. It would also help if you would steer clear of pirated software and avoid clicking on fake anti-virus popups in websites.
4. Insecure networks
Connecting your device to public free or unknown networks may expose you to hacking attempts. With today’s advancement in technology, it would be impossible to find a place without WIFI connections. Even restrooms have free WIFI. Hackers use these networks to connect to your digital devices and access data.
They could also use these networks to control and change legitimate websites you know and use. You could be thinking that you are checking your bank account balance on your bank’s website, but in the real sense, you could just be typing your password on a hacker’s screen.
With available online programs, a hacker could also hack your home network and expose your files. Worse, they could destroy your home. This is possible due to today’s Internet of Things (IoT) whereby every home appliance is connected to the same network.
To be safe, it is wise to create strong passwords for your home network and installing firewalls to prevent external access. It would also be wise to avoid free and open WIFI networks.
When in public places like hotels and cafes, it is wise to inquire from staff on which network is legitimate. It is also best if you avoid doing online transactions in such networks. If possible, use the network for minimal browsing.
5. Physical security threats
Threats to your data do not occur only through remote means; they could even come from having physical contact with other people. This happens when people physically access your devices such as laptops, mobile phones or even hard drives.
It would be wise to consider physical threats as a probable attack. Many people often underestimate the probability of physical attacks occurring and affecting them. Protecting your devices should not be an option.
It is one of the easiest ways in which hackers access data. All they need is your laptop and voila!
They have every bit of information you ever recorded on your computer.
This physical access could occur anywhere and at any time. For instance, in your workplace, at home, when your walking; there is no limit.
Leaving your devices unattended would also be a good chance for a hacker to access them.
It is, therefore, best if you be careful when recording and storing sensitive data. Using encryption is also a good idea. The best option is to avoid storing data on physical devices and storing this data on the cloud or secured servers.
This is a form of hacking attempt in which the hacker poses as a legitimate institution or person and gains access to sensitive data either through SMS or telephone calls. You have probably received a call from an unknown number asking you for secure bank details for reasons such as security updates. Most of such requests; if not all; are smishing attacks.
Smishing uses the advantage of social engineering to get you to share private data. The primary goal is to have the hackers gain your trust. Messages may come in the form of limited offer links which when clicked downloads malware into your device hence giving access to the hacker.
To avoid such vulnerabilities, examine the legitimacy of SMS before clicking the links they carry. It is also best if you never share any private information on calls or SMS.
Basic security methods mentioned above can protect some amount of attack from hackers, but the best way would be to have a good security firm and data protection experts do the work for you.
It would be keen to note that every second a hacker is trying to access your personal information and you should protect it in every way possible.
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