The Internet is undoubtedly one of the best inventions ever, as it offers instant access to endless information and entertainment resources. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine life without it, considering its role in improving so many areas of life. It provides many opportunities for businesses, facilitates transactions, and allows you to educate yourself on literally any topic. Not to mention that it makes communication a whole lot easier. One thing is certain: things wouldn’t be the same without the Internet. However, this comes at a price, and as life-saving as it is sometimes, the Internet can also be dangerous.
Cybercrime is a continuous threat, and getting your financial information stolen isn’t the only thing you should worry about. As hackers strengthen their tactics, new threats keep surfacing. As far as companies are concerned, the risks of data breaches in the UK keep increasing and cyberattacks equally affect individuals. When hearing about all the cybercrimes out there, you may feel tempted to throw your phone away and never use the Internet again. But that’s a drastic measure – and let’s be honest, you don’t want to give up on the benefits of virtual space either. Instead, you should learn about the different types of cybercrime and how to protect yourself from them.
Common cybersecurity threats
This is the most prolific type of cybersecurity risk that has existed ever since the Internet’s inception and is still an issue up to this point. Malware occurs when users click on malicious links that install dangerous software, which causes unusual behaviour like deleting files, denying access to programs, and stealing information. Malware can take different forms, including:
This is another common cybersecurity threat which involves sending considerable amounts of fraudulent emails to users while making them look like they come from a trustworthy source. These emails seem legitimate but include links to a malicious file designed to grant cyber criminals access to your device so that they can extract financial or personal information, and more. Phishing attacks can occur on social networks and also via calls or text messages.
This type of cybercrime is similar to phishing and refers to an attempt to lure users into exposing sensitive information. This can happen on any platform, and cybercriminals often go to great lengths to achieve their goals, like using social media info.
Updating your software regularly helps ensure your computer uses the latest security patches that keep hackers away. Updates in your system don’t only involve new features – they’re also a solution for vulnerabilities in your device that attackers could use to access your data.
They will contact you directly via phone or email and try to gain your confidence. Once they access your information, they can use it as they want, like selling it.
This is another common threat on the Internet, and it takes the form of spam emails or ads that promise a reward or an unrealistic offer of a considerable amount of money. Online scams often seem too good to be true, and once you click on them, they will cause malware and compromise your information.
Ways to protect yourself against cybercrime
We’ve established that cybercrime is prevalent in today’s digitised world, so it is paramount to take the necessary measures to prevent it. That said, here are some tips on what you can do to stay safe from hackers’ malicious intents:
Ensure your software is updated
Updating your software regularly helps ensure your computer uses the latest security patches that keep hackers away. Updates in your system don’t only involve new features – they’re also a solution for vulnerabilities in your device that attackers could use to access your data. As time-consuming as this process may be, it’s a crucial step you should take to keep your information safe.
Use solid passwords
Solid passwords are crucial when it comes to online security. If you’re like everyone else, you’re probably tempted to use the same password for all your accounts; however, this puts your information at risk, making it easier for cybercriminals to access it. Suppose they guess the password of one of your accounts; in that case, they will also be able to access the rest of your accounts. That said, it’s paramount to use a unique password for each of your accounts and make them as hard to guess as possible. This means using a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters.
Limit the info you post on social media
Sharing things online has become so normal that people don’t consider the risks involved. You may want to post something to update your family and friends on your life, but don’t forget that cybercriminals can use this information to access your accounts and, at worst, steal your identity.
It’s best to use your credit card only for shopping online. Debit cards aren’t a good option because they trace to your bank. Also, you should ensure your credit card limit is at a level that would allow you to cope if your card was stolen. If possible, you should sign up for schemes like Visa Secure, which provides an extra layer of protection by asking you to set a password and use specific characters from it when making an online purchase.
That said, make sure to check your privacy settings and make your posts visible only to family and other close contacts.
Be cautious of suspicious links in your email
Hackers frequently rely on emails to conduct cybercrime. Also known as phishing scams, bad actors use this method to install viruses on your system. They may fool you into revealing your username and password to different accounts – and even details regarding your credit card. You can avoid falling victim to them by not clicking links in your emails. Instead, you should type the website address into the browser and enter your login data. Also, be extra cautious about generic messages that make it seem like you HAVE TO click on a link. For instance, someone may email you something like, ‘Look what I found out about you!’ These emails are likely malicious, so you should never open them – even if the sender looks familiar.
Be careful with your credit cards
It’s best to use your credit card only for shopping online. Debit cards aren’t a good option because they trace to your bank. Also, you should ensure your credit card limit is at a level that would allow you to cope if your card was stolen. If possible, you should sign up for schemes like Visa Secure, which provides an extra layer of protection by asking you to set a password and use specific characters from it when making an online purchase. Lastly, you should always check a website’s security before entering your credit card info. You can do this by looking at the validity of the URL or searching for a padlock symbol.
The Bottom Line
The Internet has many advantages, but it also comes with risks you must be aware of. Following the tips mentioned above can reduce your chances of falling victim to a cyberattack.
James Gordon is a content manager for the website Feedbuzzard. He loves spending time in nature, and his favorite pastime is watching dogs play. He also enjoys watching sunsets, as the colors are always so soothing to him. James loves learning about new technology, and he is excited to be working on a website that covers this topic.