We are well aware of the danger that could follow if we get careless with strangers, leave our things lying around, or simply disregard suspicious things in our environment. These days, most of us are connected to the internet and it is imperative to acknowledge that there are proponents of fraud, theft, espionage terrorizing people through cyber space.
Common misconceptions about cyber-crime is that hackers only target rich people or large organizations. As long as you don’t hand out your account details online or reply those shady text messages sent to your phone every now and then, you’re good to go right? Well…not really.
Do cyber criminals have new tricks up their sleeves?
Spear-phishing and botnets are tools used by hackers to get you to click on suspicious links in emails or download videos. In both cases, hackers make the messages appear to come from a trustworthy source.
Spear-phishing, a particularly malicious technique used by the hackers, is designed to come from someone the recipient trusts; while botnets are created to infect your computer with a bot program, giving you less control of your device. These tools help hackers hide malware in the links to give them access to sensitive information stored on your device.
Bank account information, email and social media account passwords, employment documents are details hackers can use to impersonate you. Sometimes, they can send messages requesting for money. It’s best to avoid messages that urge you to pay before claiming a prize or joining a free trial. The trick is to get small amounts from a large pool of people. After all, little drops of water make the mighty ocean.
The damage caused by cyber-crime attacks are usually costly, time-consuming and emotionally exhausting.
It sounds crazy, so somebody with a laptop connected to the internet can cause havoc with little risk of getting caught? Pretty much
Prevention is better than cure
It will probably blow your mind to know that about 80 percent of cyber-crimes succeed as a result of poor or non-existent cyber security measures implemented by the victim. Taking this into consideration, it is imperative to deploy protective safety security measures on your desktops, laptops, tablets, phones and other devices.
Any tips to offer?
Perhaps everyone knows it is critical to use strong passwords. If you belong to the “1234”, birthday or first name password category (we are trying not to laugh), you’re probably a hacker’s imaginary best friend. Try to create passwords that are easy to guess but hard to remember.
Another strategy is to stay away unsupported software (Windows XP users, listen up!). When operating systems are no longer updated by the supplier, they no longer protect against online threats. If you must use an unsupported software, it is crucial to have a strong firewall. Even if you have a “I can’t kill myself attitude” to regular software updates, you can program your device to automatically install software updates when available.
Finally, don’t click on suspicious email links or attachments. Avoid clicking on links that promise riches (real billionaires don’t even have the time to send such nonsense) or funny cat videos. The last thing you want is someone calling the shots on your own device.
Are there more advanced measures to give hackers a taste of their own medicine?
We all want hackers to get what they deserve-Jail time. Unfortunately, they can be a bit tricky to catch. Luckily, the fourth industrial revolution has arrived bearing gifts- technological innovation that can go head to head with malicious cyber security attacks.
Here are the new cyber security tricks helping companies and individuals address cyber threats.
The Two-Factor Authentication usually requires the user to use their finger print, answer a security question, or enter a unique code, after providing a password. It is a second layer of security that ensures the user is granted access only after successfully presenting one or two pieces of evidence.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) goes beyond Siri or Alexa telling you how far you are from the coolest new restaurant. Recent breakthroughs in AI, allow the software on your device to monitor your system regularly, watch for patterns and help detect unusual behavior on your device. Your software paired with AI can learn new ways to uncover cyber security threats in real time, preventing them from causing significant damage.
Deception technology such as honeypots, sinkholes and blackholes, are tools that act as an internal layer of protection that kick in when hackers attack your device. Honeypots for example, are set up on false or virtual private servers.
To a hacker, these servers appear real and vulnerable and within seconds, your server will be under attack. The best part is the joke is on them, because the honeypot software helps you set up fake files with attractive names and fake passwords. While hackers think they’re having all the fun, you’ll be sipping drinks and monitoring their activities.
Although desktops and laptops are still a hot target for cyber criminals, incorporating mobile devices in their schemes give them access to wider networks. To address this issue, smart phones are being designed to verify the owner’s identify through biometric scanning- a process that uses body parts to grant access to a device.
Facial recognition, retina scanning, or finger print reading software are biometric options that serve as gatekeeping mechanisms to prevent unwanted attacks.
What other innovative cyber security enhancing technology are being created to help companies ward off attacks? Share your thoughts with us.