Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, from the CEO of a major tech company to the stay-at-home mom watching Netflix on her laptop. Even if you think your data isn’t particularly important or valuable, there’s guaranteed to be some shady hacker, somewhere, who can’t wait to get their hands on it. That means it’s in your best interest to stay informed on the latest developments in protecting your data and your devices. Here are 4 cybersecurity threats to keep an eye out for.
1. Large-Scale Data Leaks
Unfortunately, one of the biggest threats to the safety of your personal information isn’t something you can completely block on your own. When hackers go after massive data troves from huge companies, they can get their hands on your personal info without directly accessing your device or even your email account. They just circumvent security measures at a large company like Equifax and immediately scrape all of the data they can find, including things like your email address and the password you use on the site. If you’re using that email/password combination in other places, you’ll then be vulnerable, as hackers can use them to get in to your accounts and impersonate you or steal even more information. To avoid this, use multiple “burner” email accounts for sites that require an address, so that your main account won’t be as vulnerable to identity theft. You should your logins with two-factor authentication on every site that allows it.
2. Computers And Devices Hacked For Crypto Mining
Mining cryptocurrency takes a tremendous amount of computing power, but hackers have found a way around paying for it. They’re using apps that mine cryptocurrency in the background to increase their crypto fortunes by putting your computer or mobile device to work for them. This can significantly slow down your device, and leave it vulnerable to other attacks. Don’t download any app that seems sketchy, even if it’s made it to the App Store, as multiple app developers have been busted for this underhanded practice.
3. Ransomware Cloud Attacks
Ransomware is one of the most profitable forms of hacking. Criminals gain access to important troves of data, then encrypt them, refusing to release them until they are paid huge sums of money (often in cryptocurrency to avoid being traced). These attacks often target cloud storage, taking huge amounts of user data “hostage” and demanding payment before releasing it back to the rightful owner. And as with large-scale data leaks, there’s nothing you can really do to prevent the catastrophe from occurring, although you can take steps to minimize your exposure in the case that it does go down. Don’t place all your faith in the cloud! If you have extremely important data, have it backed up in multiple places. A hard drive set to auto-backup makes for a good backup to your cloud that won’t go down if your provider is hit with ransomware.
4. Next Level Phishing
Phishing is one of the most popular ways of hacking someone’s email or other sensitive accounts. It usually uses a faked message from a trusted source to get unwitting people to enter their data. As people and companies have caught on to phishing, it’s efficacy has diminished, but hackers are now coming up with new ways to accomplish the same goal. They’re using AI tools to create more convincing fake messages, often on social media. Chatbots can carry on an entire conversation designed to lure you into revealing personal information. Don’t reveal any personal information on social media, regardless of what the “person” you’re talking to says.
Common sense goes a long way in keeping your data safe, but it’s also wise to stay abreast of the latest trends in hacking. Keep an eye out for the 4 schemes above and keep your data safe.