Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’re no doubt aware that the modern world is fraught with potential threats. From identity theft to computer security, countless dangers are lurking around every corner.
Unfortunately, these perils are not only limited to people in this digital age. Computers (and the internet) are just as susceptible to security breaches as people are.
The same is true for your smartphones and tablets, both of which can spawn various malware. This article will explore four types of computer threats that you need to know about. Then, you’ll learn how you can better protect your devices from these threats in the future.
Phishing is an attempt by a hacker to trick you into revealing valuable information, such as your login credentials. For example, phishing emails can appear legitimate. These messages often look like they are sent directly from a legitimate website, hosted company, or your email provider (for example, Google).
Since they seem so credible, more often than not, people don’t question the email and instead click on an attached link, open a document in a message or download an attached file. When you do this, your device could end up infected with malware and other malicious code, which would give hackers direct access to your computer’s data.
Simply by clicking on that email, you may have given hackers access to your personal information (such as banking information) and allowed them to steal from you. The best way to avoid this threat is to know how the scam works and recognize the various methods that hackers use in their attempts to acquire your information.
Thankfully, experts have created websites that show you how phishing scams work and warn you of the various ways hackers can exploit them.
Malware is a general umbrella term for computer viruses and other malicious software. The majority of these programs are installed on a user’s computer through an unsuspecting person. Once installed, malware can be used to pirate your credit card information or invade your personal computer’s internet connection. It can even download and install ransomware, which holds hostage your data until you pay a ransom.
One of the most common types of malware is spyware. This type of spyware usually takes the form of a browser search tool or an instant messaging program.
Parties with malicious intent, such as hackers, are often the culprits of installing spyware. These tools usually collect your data and send it to a third party for profit. Other malware often can disable your antivirus software, disable system updates, and even be used to launch other malicious software. You can protect your device from malware by always installing software from trusted sources.
Your quality computer antivirus software will also protect you against most forms of malware. If your antivirus software is not up-to-date, consider investing in a new package (especially if you’re worried about malware). Avoid disabling your antivirus program. This may end up costing you more (in terms of money and time) if a malicious program infiltrates your system.
3. Hacking Attacks
The internet is ideal for hackers to use and abuse any vulnerabilities. The cyber-security industry has grown to over $1 billion per year. So, it’s not surprising that hackers are taking advantage of this opportunity by launching many attacks against unsuspecting individuals daily. Computer hackers can take control of your computer and steal your private data (such as credit card data) and other important information. These hackers can also plant malware on your system, giving them access to your email as well.
To avoid becoming a victim of such an attack, you need to be vigilant. When choosing a reputable internet service provider (ISP), the same is true. Ensure that they do not share your password with any other parties.
Pharming is phishing but done by a hacker after your computer’s IP address. Usually, this information is used to divert your traffic to another website that the hacker can use for personal gain.
Although it’s not nearly as common as other computer security threats, pharming still poses a risk to your valuable data and can lead to identity theft and fraud. If you’re concerned about your safety, do two things. First, consider changing your IP address by going to the webpage where you can do this:
Next, you can use a VPN (remote access VPN), which will tunnel your connection through a secure virtual network instead of the wireless network. However, if you already have a VPN running on your device or if your computer does not have a remote access feature at all, then avoid clicking on any link that comes from an unknown sender, even if they look legitimate.
It’s no secret that there are numerous ways in which cybercriminals can steal data from you, your business, or even your entire company. But if you’re cautious and aware of the various threats out there, you can protect your computer and network from these risks. The best way to avoid being a victim of these threats is to be aware of them and know how hackers and cybercriminals take advantage of them.