Online Threats to Watch Out for in 2016
As we all move towards the digital era, and complete much of our business and banking online, cybercrime is becoming increasingly lucrative and thus more and more common. As a result, in order to prevent us becoming the next victim of attack, we must all be aware of the online threats that we face on a day to day basis in order to ensure that we can protect our data, and stay safe online. Here are 4 of the biggest online threats that we should watch out for in 2016:
- Banking Malware
Cybercriminals have discovered a way to access data from bank and online banking systems, which has enabled criminals to steal millions of dollars of our money. Some cybercriminals use Trojans to access the data, whilst others download software onto the computers of bank employees. This form of cyber attack is hard to avoid, but to limit attack, always ensure that your passwords are strong, and changed regularly, and remove cookies from your computer history as often as possible.
Pretty much as it says on the tin, this form of attack involves a ransom and is carried out when a cybercriminal downloads a form of malicious software onto our computer systems, or steals some of our secure information, and will not remove the software, or return our data, until we pay a ransom fee. This form of attack is typically aimed at individuals, and the criminals usually do not ask for massive amounts of money, but, in time, it is likely that this form of attack will expand and companies will have to bear the brunt. In order to limit the risk of ransomware attack on your computer ensure that you browse the web as safely as possible, consider using a VPN and always ensure that your passwords are strong.
When we are online, without a VPN, we are constantly being tracked. Adware is one type of software that enables such tracking to occur. Adware displays ads on our computers when we are online, and by doing so they are able to collect marketing data and even some of private information without us ever even realising that we have been attacked. Some forms of adware software can then send the information to advertising websites for their financial gain. In order to limit such attacks, we should all consider using a VPN to access public networks, and also ensure that we set our computers to ‘private’, and that we block pop up adverts. There are also adware removal programs that you can download to free yourself from such attack.
- Phishing attacks
Phishing is when cybercriminals trick us into revealing secure information such as our bank passwords. The most common way that phishing attacks happen is when cybercriminals send out authentic looking emails, allegedly from official organisations such as banks, which send us to supposedly official websites where we are then directed to enter our information. The information that we input can be seen by cybercriminals who can then use it for their own gain. As a result, we must always be careful about what emails we respond to, and where we input our data. Remember that real official organisations will never ask for you to verify passwords, or the like. If unsure, do not respond.
The basic rules of protecting yourself are that you must always ensure that you have strong passwords, that you ensure that you only access public wifi networks using a VPN, and that you always stay aware of your data, and surroundings.