Protecting your System from Online Threats in 2021

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The rate at which internet attacks are increasing is almost geometric. Hence, it is not unlikely that in the next few years, we’ll be seeing more cyberattacks on practically all sectors of the economy.

The world is experiencing a health pandemic currently. However, it is highly possible that we can experience a digital pandemic on a global scale. Already, we have experienced hacks on national and international scales like the Department of Homeland Security hack and the WannaCry Ransomware attack.

Despite this increased dependence on the internet, cybersecurity levels on an international scale remain weak. The more the use of the internet grows, the more hackers will spring up. Hence, cybersecurity is expected to become the most discussed issue in the tech world in the next decade.

Top Cyber Risks on the Internet

Third-Party Hacks

Third-party software prevents organizations from adding unnecessary infrastructure and employees to their ranks. Businesses need third parties to increase functionality while lowering costs and still maximizing profit.

However, contracting internet services to third parties can pose a big security risk. There are third-party service firms that do not practice proper security measures. Because of integration with a third-party company, your organization can get hacked.

According to RiskManagementMonitor, risk management, and insurance blog, 6 in 10 privacy compromises have been the result of a third-party hack. The survey also revealed that more than half of all firms disregard cybersecurity measures when dealing with third-party services.

In 2019, a breach of a third-party service compromised the data collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Images and videos of faces and license plates were gotten by the hackers.

Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks

If you’ve visited a website packed with traffic, you might have experienced an error message stating the website’s service is not available. That is what a DDoS attack can do.

A DDoS attack is one used to shut down traffic to a particular IP address. A DDoS hacker typically directs an army of bots to send traffic to a system’s address. These bots are computers previously breached by the hacker and added to a botnet for purposes like these. The computers can belong to any random individual on the globe and are hijacked through malware.

If your server can’t handle the surge in traffic, your system gets shut down.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is one that allows a hacker to spy on communications between two parties. The hacker plants a device in between the interconnected parties to sniff on the data exchanged.

MITM attacks are very common in public Wi-Fi areas. Hackers usually need a lot of data to sell on the dark web, and places with public Wi-Fi get connected to several individuals. If the Wi-Fi network has weak security, the cybercriminal will be able to place a device between all the people browsing and the network.

This way, internet banking login credentials, social media logins, and email logins can be gotten. Do not make the mistake of assuming a Wi-Fi network requesting a password means it’s secure. In reality, it might have a weak security level.

Trojan Malware

A Trojan is a kind of malware that disguises as legitimate software to trick users into downloading them. It can be spread through infected websites or emails.

The most popular way Trojans spread is by pretending to be an antivirus. If you’ve been on a website that shows a prompt stating your device has been infected and you’ll need to download an antivirus, then you’ve experienced a Trojan.

Many individuals download the rogue software posing as antivirus and get infected immediately. If a Trojan is sent to you as an email attachment, your device could also get compromised.

Securing your Device from Online Threats

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Make your Passwords Tough to Break

One of the easiest methods by which a rookie hacker can break into your system is when you use a fragile password. A weak passcode is one that can be attributed to you, like your relative’s name, pet’s name, birthday, and so on. A hacker would be able to guess your password and breach your account.

You’ll need to create a very strong password to prevent hackers from getting into your account. Strong passwords contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Instead of using a word, you can utilize the first word starting a sentence that you should be able to remember easily.

Also, use a different password for each account or device. If you’re finding it difficult to create and remember your passwords, use a password management service.

Download a VPN

VPN is the acronym for Virtual Private Network. It is used to encrypt the flow of information from a device.

A VPN can protect you from two threats mentioned in this article which are DDoS attacks and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. For a DDoS attack, connecting to a VPN will direct the bots to the VPN server, where the attack becomes helpless because most VPN servers can withstand a large amount of traffic.

For a MITM attack, when you encrypt your network with a VPN, even if a hacker is connected to public Wi-Fi, your device will remain safe. Your internet traffic would become indecipherable and useless to the hacker.

Avoid Emails from Unfamiliar Sources

Downloading email attachments from unfamiliar people can result in you accidentally downloading malware. If you can’t recognize the email sender’s identity, do not open the email.

Also, be careful of emails from sources that seem familiar, so you don’t become a victim of phishing. Check the sender’s address to make sure it is from the right source.

Avoid Unsafe Websites

The best way to avoid malware on your device is to not get it in the first place. When you avoid clicking on just any website you see, you won’t be enticed to download Trojan malware.

Some browsers also send warnings about unsafe websites. Clear that tab and avoid visiting that link again.

Scrutinize Third-Party Services

To avoid getting hacked, you’ll need to check for a trusted and secure third-party vendor. Before you use a third-party service, make sure the firm employs strong cybersecurity measures. If the vendors share the same data privacy values as your company, it should be harder to get hacked.

If your third-party software vendors use open-source tools, ask about their safety. The company should be able to rectify bugs in open-source codes quickly if they arise.

Final Thoughts

The increase in internet adoption during this pandemic has led to increased cyberattacks. Hackers work around the clock to steal data from individuals that are not familiar with internet cybersecurity. To prevent your system from becoming a casualty, you need to get familiar with hacking techniques and have preventive measures in place.

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