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The World Wide Web is a free for all when it comes to information exchange. Unfortunately, bad actors are lurking in the shadows of the Dark Web. Your safety and security are sacrosanct. Among the many threats out there are Trojan horses, malware, adware, viruses, spyware, worms, Wi-Fi attacks, phishing scams, DOS attacks, and more. As viruses continue to evolve, security companies work feverishly to safeguard consumers from these threats. A shocking statistic recently emerged: there is a 25% chance of companies becoming victims of data breaches. At corporate level, these threats tend to cause damages of at least $3 million.
On a personal level, the effects of being hacked are simply devastating. Malware is often disguised as a benign attachment, link, message, or file. In this day and age, it is dangerous to let your guard down, since the risks are simply too great to bear. There are many techniques that can be employed to secure online communications, and each of them requires a diligent and sustained approached to online safety. For starters, it’s important to use trusted, updated software equipped with all the safety and security features you need. Network protection systems are increasingly important, and users benefit from firewalls and antivirus software, and established protocols for network segmentation at company level.
One of the foremost techniques used in combating emerging threats is known as cyber ranges. These virtual milieus serve as testing grounds where simulated attacks can take place and protections can be offered. Skilled IT professionals develop robust solutions for the slew of attacks that are taking place in real time. Cyber ranges are ideally suited to people involved in education, SMEs, students, and professional-level individuals. Click on this link to get informed about cyber range options.
What Cybersecurity Threats Are Currently Lurking?
In July, 2020, the Seattle Department of Justice (DOJ) levelled charges against a group of cybercriminals involved in a widespread hacking scheme. The cybercrime group known as FXMSP had been targeting companies across the board, including institutions of learning, corporate entities, and foreign governments too. A host of fraudulent activities was conducted, including the use of backdoor techniques to gain entry to networks. FXMSP would then implement malicious code to steal data and sell network access via Dark Web.
In July, 2020, the San Francisco Department of Justice (DOJ) also had its hands full dealing with cybercriminals involved in a widescale breach of Twitter accounts for musicians, celebrities, and politicians across the US. The ‘Bitcoin Scam’ account successfully hacked the Twitter accounts of VIPs, and spirited off some 400 transfers valued at $100,000 before the ruse was up. Law enforcement was able to arrest the 3 brazen individuals by carefully analyzing the Bitcoin blockchain, and then implementing reverse technology to make those transactions visible.
Social engineering activity is rampant in 2020, and will likely remain a major source of concern for security consultants. The chief method used by hackers in this regard is phishing. This rudimentary scheme entices individuals to voluntarily reveal personal information such as usernames/passwords, debit card/credit card information, and other biographical details to hackers. Most phishing activity emanates from emails. Fortunately, this type of security threat can easily be neutralized by implementing email safeguards and protocols.
Internet of things (IoT) attacks are increasingly common, since the interconnectedness of modern-day devices presents security challenges for people at home, and at company level. When too many Internet-ready devices are connected to networks, this presents hackers with an easy way in. Cyber criminals will avoid the most secure IoT devices, and target the weakest links in the chain. The result is that a criminal could have instant access to your video camera on your IoT-compatible vacuum cleaner, smart camera, refrigerator, or smart device. The best way to circumvent these types of problems is to seal the leaks, beef up security protocols, and add additional layers to Internet security.
Ransomware strategies are rapidly changing, courtesy of sophisticated hacking technologies that are holding major companies’ databases to ransom. While the rapid rise of blockchain technology has been welcomed with open arms, it has also fuelled an onslaught of ransomware attacks. Now, these cyber security threats are taking place anonymously, making it much more difficult for law enforcement to track down the source of these nefarious activities. It comes as no surprise that hackers are focusing tremendous effort on high net worth individuals, and major listed enterprises, in pursuit of a big score.
What Threats Do Work-at-Home Internet Users Have to Worry about?
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Working from home presents an altogether unique set of challenges to individuals. At first glance, this seems to be the most secure way of working online. Unfortunately, homes are rife with Internet fraud, hacking, and unsecured networks. For one thing, everyone using the home Internet service is a potential risk to your online safety. This includes partners, family members, and friends using the Internet. Since each home ISP is protected by way of an alphanumeric password, that oftentimes presents as the first and last line of defense. Once you’re in, you’re in.
Many home Internet users believe that VPNs are the way to go. These virtual private networks obfuscate your true IP address by displaying the IP address of the VPN server in the specific country and location you have chosen. Therein lies a problem. VPNs themselves have access to all of your browsing information and they can see exactly what you’re doing. It’s really important to know whether they maintain logs of your browsing records and search history.
Equally important is whether the VPN company is located in a country which is required by law to share data records of all members across a global security network apparatus. The UK USA agreement is one such system which requires all member countries to share information vis-a-vis data and intelligence. There are 5 eyes countries and 14 eyes countries – avoid VPNs based in any of these countries.
Beyond VPNs and The Onion Router (TOR), home Internet users have other concerns to worry about. These include the nature of communications between employees and their clients, including the manner in which information is shared. For example, are personal and business files intermingled? Are files stored on external hard drives? Google Drive? In the Cloud? The security of each system and platform is extremely important.
Any weaknesses can prove the undoing for small business owners and their clients, particularly where sensitive, proprietary information is being exchanged. The seemingly ever-increasing list of interconnected devices at home presents many challenges to businesses seeking to protect the integrity of the data. It’s not just about hiding your Internet password from prying eyes – it really goes much, much deeper than that.