While large companies are often at the receiving end of these hacking attempts, small businesses and individual users can become victims, too. Hence, there’s no reason for you and the other users to keep your guards down.
If you want to surf online without worries, you must first know the risks and then learn how to keep yourself safe and away from the prying eyes of hackers.
9 Most Common Forms Of Online Attacks
Hackers have been catching up with the latest technologies and have become more sophisticated in their attacks. While cybercriminals can launch costly strikes, the modes of attack have often been the same since a few years ago. These include the following:
- Malware deployment
- Man-in-the-middle attacks
- Phishing, Smishing, Vishing, and Pharming
- Server Query Language (SQL) Injections
- Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks
- Password attacks/ identity theft
- Cross-site scripting
- Internet of Things (IoT) attacks
- Zero-day Exploit
As you can see, cyberattacks can be done in many ways. Some hackers introduce malware through email attachments or links. Others exploit weak network, server, or password security to launch these attacks. For that reason, we have listed seven ways to protect yourself online.
7 Ways To Protect Yourself Online
Nowadays, popular applications implement stringent security measures. For instance, it’s highly challenging to hack WhatsApp and similar social media apps because of their structure and setup. Still, users shouldn’t take online security lightly and ensure that they’re protected across all fronts.
The following preventative measures can reduce your vulnerability to online threats while connected.
Use Proxy IPs Addresses Or VPN
Proxies serve as intermediary internet protocol (IP) addresses—an alphanumeric code that identifies all devices connected to the internet.
As an intermediary address, proxies can provide an additional layer of protection. It also improves security and prevents hackers from accessing your confidential information. You may use proxies for web browsers to hide your identity and location. It also facilitates access to sites restricted to specific regions or countries.
If you want to take it further, use a virtual private network or VPN. While both proxies and VPNs provide anonymity by hiding your actual IP address, the latter is better in ensuring network traffic security. Proxies may only work with applications, while VPNs reroute internet data to an encrypted tunnel. Of the two, VPN is preferred by most. However, it would be best to choose a good VPN service to get the most benefits.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication Or Complex Passwords
Keep your online accounts safe by using complex passwords. Too often, users opt for easy-to-remember keys so that they won’t be locked out of their accounts. Unfortunately, a weak password is an open invitation for hackers. Just by knowing a few of your details, such as your birth date, they’re likely to get through your accounts.
Besides complex passwords, use multi-factor authentication for another layer of security. Apart from passwords, MFA requires users to enter a one-time code sent to their mobile phone or to scan their fingerprints on the screen.
Make Sure Your Connection Is Secure
Public Wi-Fi may seem like a blessing, especially when you have fully consumed your data allocation. However, be wary of using them, as you have no control over their security settings. As the name implies, public Wi-Fi is open to anyone, including hackers who are out looking for their next victim.
Because of weak security, it’s so easy for other users to look at your activity and digital footprint. If you’re going online shopping and paying with your credit card, it’s best to wait until you get home rather than using a shopping mall’s free Wi-Fi service.
Be Careful On Social Media
If you’re promoting a business on social media, posting actively to get the word out is understandable. However, it would help if you don’t do the same on your private account. Posting every detail of your life and plans is a complete no-no. For instance, posting pictures of your new job ID will likely give hackers critical information about you.
In addition, be wary of individuals who initiate a romantic and intimate chat. Cybercriminals may create fake social media profiles to lure women and men and form a relationship. These people only have one thing in mind – to trick you into falling in love while discreetly taking away your money and properties.
Check Privacy Settings To Protect Personal Information
The internet is a public space, and most of the time, users can get a glimpse of your photos and details. Hence, it’s crucial to avoid oversharing on social media.
Because cyberattacks are increasing, you must protect your personal information. Check your account privacy settings to control who gets to see your details, photos, and posts. It is imperative not to fill out all details about your life even if you think they may be harmless. Remember that cybercriminals are capable of using any information against you.
Avoid Sharing Passwords And Personal Details
Online hackers consistently exploit human and system weaknesses to get what they want. Most victims fall into these traps:
- Phishing refers to online attempts to illegally get your personal information. Hackers typically send legitimate-looking emails or links from banks and utility companies asking for sensitive details to steal your identity.
- Pharming allows cyber cheats to install malware to your computer or server to redirect you to a fake website while online hackers make money.
- Vishing is similar to phishing but uses voice calls instead of emails to commit fraud.
- Smishing is another form of phishing that uses a short messaging service (SMS) in carrying out a spurious activity.
It would be best not to click any link or respond with your username, password, and other sensitive details when you have received any message or email asking for your immediate attention. Instead, go through the entity’s website and see if the email, text, or call you received is legitimate. You may forward the communication to the legitimate organization for proper action. Grammatical and spelling errors often give away a fraudulent email or text message.
Update Your Devices and Antivirus Tools
Updates are created to fix any security loopholes your software or device might have. Remember to download these upgrades as soon as they are available. Suppose you choose not to update your browsers, devices, and applications. In that case, you may make it easier for cyber hackers to exploit your system’s weakness and inject malware, viruses, or any online attack that can be too costly to amend. So, it would be best to update your devices and antivirus tools.
Online threats take various forms, and avoiding them can be challenging. While there is no one-size-fits-all guarantee to hack-proof your devices, having enough security tools and a proactive approach can help reduce vulnerabilities. These preventive measures are especially essential when love scams, phishing, smishing, vishing, and pharming are concerned.