You’re surfing the web, minding your own business. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about, right? You’re not going to any of “those” sites that are known for giving you computer viruses.
Even if you’re not doing anything you think should attract attention to you, you should still be worried about cyber security threats. Hackers are always on the lookout for a new mark and if you’re connected to the internet — that mark could be you.
With cyber attacks happening every 39 seconds, you need to be in the know about potential risks to your computer system and important information. Continue reading this article to learn what to look out for.
The 411 on Cyber Security Threats
If you don’t have firewall protection and aren’t taking proper preventative measures, your computer likely has more on it than you put there. Tricky sites know how to make their way onto your computer so they can track what you do and collect the information as desired.
Keep an eye open for the following threats to make sure you’re not a hacker’s next victim.
Malware & Ransomware
Malware and ransomware have been causing trouble for consumers and businesses alike. These programs can take on different shapes and sizes so it is difficult to detect when they are on your system. Some forms of ransomware are more harmful than others but all of them cause some sort of mayhem for the person dealing with the attack.
Once you have malware or ransomware on your computer, it is difficult to deal with. Prevention is the best way to deal with this problem. If you’re infected, you likely have to take your computer to a professional to get rid of it.
Advanced Phishing Schemes
It’s likely that you’ve seen emails or answered phishing phone calls. Phishing is when someone pretends to be a bank or other establishment you deal with to get valuable information out of you.
They might try to get your bank account information, your social security number or other information. Most people never report phishing schemes because they don’t even know they’ve been the victim of a phishing attack.
The best practices for defending yourself against a phishing attack is to never give out information when someone reaches out to you via email even if it looks like it is from the right email address. Hackers and attackers are getting more knowledgeable about how to fool even the most careful people.
Remote Access Attacks
When you think everything is safe and sound in your home — think again. Hackers want to get into your computer network and hack your smart home. The main reason people are attacking your network is that they want to steal your information.
If your system has any vulnerabilities, it will make it much easier for hackers to make their way into the system and find the information. Make sure all of your software is up to date to make it as difficult as possible for the people trying to illegally access your information.
Attacks Using Smartphones
Be careful what apps you download. If you download suspicious apps, they could easily access your information and affect your smartphone in a negative way. You likely have your financial information on your phone and if the hackers get into your phone, you could experience some serious problems.
Make sure you only download apps you know are safe. Read reviews on the apps but also look to see who made the app. If you don’t need the app — don’t download it. You’re welcoming the app and anything it brings with it into the safety of your phone, so make sure it is worth the invite.
Data breaches are another major cyber security threat. You’ve likely seen many news articles on recent data breaches. When you see these data breaches, you likely go and sure up your security but six months later, you’re back to using the same passwords and browsing any website you please.
If you’re a business owner, you are at high risk for hacking because hackers want the information you have on other people. If you think you’re safe because you’re a small business — don’t think like that. Many hackers feel that small businesses are an easier target since you likely don’t have the firewalls and other security measures in place to keep your business and information safe.
Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Cyber Attacks
If you use bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, keep an eye out when you’re using cryptocurrency exchanges. Hackers love to target cryptocurrency exchanges and can make away with a big chunk of your currency without leaving a trace.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe Online
Now that you know about some of the biggest threats to your cyber security online, you might be looking for the best ways to stay safe online so you don’t fall victim to these attacks. Here are some of the best tips that can help you stay out of trouble online.
Protect Yourself With Internet Security
If your computer doesn’t have internet security on it, you’re leaving yourself wide open to attacks. When you have a full suite internet security provider, you have protection through an advanced firewall that monitors inbound and outbound web traffic feeds.
You’ll be able to monitor all URLs that are accessed so you can be sure you aren’t visiting a known phishing URL. You’ll also be able to experience better browsing with some of these suites because they will optimize your system and make it easier for you to access the internet.
Use Strong Passwords
While we all know not to use our name, kid’s or pet’s names or password123, we still might try to get away with a birthdate or other easy-to-remember term. One thing to keep in mind is — when it’s easy to remember, it’s probably easy to hack as well.
When it comes to creating strong passwords, you want them to be as long as possible. Usually, 12 to 15 characters are pretty strong. You should also use upper and lowercase letters, use numbers and special characters as allowed by different websites.
If you aren’t creative and don’t want to come up with the password on your own, you can go to a password creation website and let it come up with a complicated and highly secure password for you.
Keep All Software Up to Date
It’s easy to click out of updates when we see them come across our computers and phones but promise yourself that isn’t going to be the case anymore. Many times the reason there is an update on your phone, app, computer or other software is because of a security issue. If you don’t update it, you’re leaving yourself open to an attack.
Keep Your Information Locked Down on Social Media
While you might want to share things with people, you don’t need to put your information out in the open. Putting your birthday online, mother’s maiden name or mentioning the name of your pet might put your identity at risk. The less you share on social media, the less likely it is that people are going to be able to easily hack your accounts and computer.
Make Sure Your Home Network Is Secured
Use a virtual private network aka VPN for your home. When you use a VPN, all of the traffic leaving your device will be encrypted until it gets to where it is going. If someone does get access to your network, they won’t be able to see the information that is traveling across the line but instead, they will see encrypted information.
Make Sure Children Are Using the Internet Safely
Our children might not think of things like cyber threats. While we don’t want to scare our children, we do need to educate them that people could be trying to steal information from them at some point. Warn them about the same things that you’re looking out for and advise them about what to do if they do come across something that looks suspicious.
Making sure everyone using your computer and internet is educated is a major step toward keeping yourself safe online.
Learn More About How to Avoid Being Hacked and More
Now that you know about these cyber security threats, you can do your best to protect yourself against these attackers. Why stop learning about how to protect yourself here? Be proactive and check out some of our other articles on our site today.