You probably won’t be shocked to know that you spend a lot of your time online. You’re online right now reading this, aren’t you? Unfortunately, in today’s digital age, with so many people online and using the internet for everyday things and get cyberthreats.
There’s also a rise in cybercrime as hackers are always finding new ways to get hold of personal information, run scams, or bring a business to a standstill. But there are also some key things that you should be aware of to make sure you’re as safe as you can be when you’re online.
The common steps of Cyberthreats
No doubt you are aware of some of the online concerns and have taken some steps already, but we’ll just do a quick rehash in case you haven’t. Whenever you go onto a website, always make sure it’s a legitimate one. You can easily find that out by looking at the padlock icon next to the URL in the URL bar. You can click on it to actually read the security certificate (and go a step further and look that up on a search engine if you want to).
It’s essential to make sure the site is secure, especially if it’s an online retailer and you plan on making a purchase there. Another obvious step is to avoid clickbait! We know it can be tough, especially with so many stories that seem appealing.
But if you want to know what 90s stars look like now or discover the ‘you won’t believe what happened next’ moment – again, just head to a search engine and look it up yourself rather than clicking through. And, of course, avoid any sites that look explicit and plain dangerous – that’s just common sense.
Doing all that is just part of the everyday online experience. It’s the more severe cyberthreats you need to be aware of, so we’ve listed the top three to watch out for.
Be mindful of malware
This is one you’ve probably already heard of, as malware covers a whole range of different threats out there. The name malware comes from a portmanteau of ‘malicious’ and ‘software,’ which basically sums up what it is. They come in the form of software that looks genuine and encourage you to download it to your device. It could be something as simple as an alarm clock, a music player, a weather report – once you’ve downloaded it onto your device, then it gets to work.
Worms are the worst type, infiltrating your system, similar to a Trojan Horse, which creeps into your computer and then opens doors for hackers to gain access. Adware is a common malware that will drop loads of ads on you.
most likely in the form of pop-ups, and you can guess what spyware does? Spies on your browsing history and keeps tabs on your online activity and passwords etc. As malware covers a load of cyberthreats, it’s something you should always be careful of – not downloading anything suspicious, sticking only to authentic downloads. If you don’t trust it, don’t download it.
Don’t be held hostage by ransomware
A form of malware, ransomware is one of the most dangerous and threatening dangers out there. Often, if you download software or head to a phishing website, or click on that suspect link from your emails – you can automatically download the software onto your system. Once it’s on, the hackers can lock you out of your computer.
They can find out all your passwords and hold you to ransom, waiting for you to pay them off. It’s one of the biggest cyber threats today and one you should watch out for. Look up more about what ransomware is and how to protect yourself against it so you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
Keep away from the keyloggers
Keylogging or key stroking (not just gently brushing your keyboard!) is a form of spyware in which cybercriminals can keep track of what keys are logged when you’re typing. You might be completely unaware that you’re even being tracked, but there in the background is the hacker who knows what you’re pressing when you enter passwords. Hackers have got many details from their victims, including passwords to personal websites, emails, and banking details.
Certain malware and cyberthreats can be removed with anti-virus software, but the best bet is to make sure you’re well prepared in advance. Get the best preventative measures, including VPN software, to mask your IP address, so you know you’re protected whenever you go online. And if anything looks off to you, close your tabs, log-off, whatever you do just don’t download it onto your device.