5 Shocking Cyber Attack Trends Which Every Internet User Should Be Aware Of (And Tips To Stay Safe Online)
Online security breaches are becoming increasingly prevalent. In 2015 alone, cybercrimes accounted for $3 trillion in losses and that number is estimated to double to $6 trillion by 2021.
If an individual’s bank account is hacked or Facebook account is compromised, it can take the bank or social media giant months to even notice. Unfortunately, some organisations actually refrain from reporting cyber breaches out of fear of damage to their reputation and reduced customer trust.
The critical importance of digital security cannot be overstated. It is imperative for businesses to utilize the tightest security and encryption technologies to protect not only themselves, but especially their users. On the other hand, people also need to become more informed and more vigilant in order to stay safe online and thwart cyber criminals.
In order to protect your security, it’s vital to stay up-to-date with the leading cyberattack trends out there.
Cyber Attack Trends to Watch
The chief attack methods are phishing, social engineering, and crypto-jacking, and their popularity is rising. These types of cyberattacks will continue to increase with mobile being the medium of choice for criminals.
Phishing has been a cybercrime staple for years now and it’s still popular because it works. In these attacks, cybercriminals send fake emails representing banks, tech companies, or the government to con people into sharing sensitive information. They also use texts, voice calls, and chats on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to steal personal data and money from unsuspecting individuals. Almost 32% of data breaches and 78% of cyber-espionage cases are a result of phishing, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report.
Social engineering is a type of attack that heavily relies on human tendencies. While phishing is technology-based, social engineering uses human interaction to trick someone into revealing confidential data. It’s becoming an increasing cause of identity theft in organisations where hacker poses as a tech support employee to trick someone into giving access to the private data of hundreds of other employees. In addition, phishing by calling or chatting with someone is also a type of social engineering.
Cryptojacking is a form of remote access attack that has been on the increase since 2018, expanding along with the growth of cryptocurrencies. In this scheme, a hacker hijacks a victim’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. The popularity of cryptojacking is growing rapidly in comparison with other forms of attack.
Mobile phones are at the epicentre of today’s routines, and so it is no wonder that most cyberattacks happen there. According to an RSA whitepaper, more than 70% of fraudulent transactions originated on mobile devices in 2018. Today, people have apps for everything: banking, booking a cab, paying for services, listening to music, keeping fit, shopping, etc. The more apps there are, the greater the vulnerability. Cybercriminals leverage these openings to access phones and acquire personal data via apps that are not secure or do not follow the proper protocols.
In addition, criminals increasingly distribute malware to mobile phones that is specially designed to steal payment data, banking app credentials, and funds from victims’ bank accounts. Malware attacks increased 50% in the first half of 2019 over 2018.
Tips to Stay Safe Online
As cyberattacks become more and more sophisticated, it’s important for businesses and individuals also up their game. Here’s how you can play it smart:
Don’t Trust Strangers Online
Remember how your parents told you to be wary of strangers when you were a kid? This is true in the digital world as well. Do not engage with strangers and definitely do not share private information with them. Check the credentials of people posing as officials from your bank or any other authority. Never send money to anyone. Period.
Be Wary of Emails
Phishing via email is the oldest and most effective trick in the book. Do not open suspicious emails and don’t click on unknown links sent to you. These could contain malicious software that could infect your computer, steal your identity, or scam you out of your money.
Do Not Share Personal Information
Never divulge your bank details, credit card numbers, or CVV with anyone, even your bank’s call centre that you may have called. In fact, refrain from oversharing at all, whether it is on your social media accounts, a job site, or any other website. Your personal information could be sold, making you vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Review Social Media Accounts
Take time to check all your social media accounts and change your passwords. Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts, including your email. Use a password manager to help you stay on top of all your passwords. Employ two-factor authentication wherever available.
Ensure Smart Device Security
Just like your computer, your smartphone also needs to be secured. Use fingerprint sensors and passcodes to ensure no one can access your information in case the phone is lost or stolen. Enable self-destruct mode that will wipe your device if you lose your phone.
Check Websites for SSL Encryption
Always check if a website has SSL encryption before keying your credit card information. Stay alert, especially if you are shopping on a new website. Check the URL. If it starts with https://, it means it is encrypted and secure. If it’s just http://, give it a pass.
Avoid Using Public Computers/WiFi
Free WiFi sounds enticing, but avoid the urge to connect your device to unknown public networks. You never know if it’s secure. If you absolutely must, ensure your device is protected with a virtual private network. Avoid using public computers and logging into your accounts. Never do any banking on a public computer as your data can be captured.
It pays to be cautious and watchful: Stay abreast of online scams and learn how to avoid them. Follow the best security practices to the T. If you play it smart, you’re more likely to stay safe from cybercriminals.
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About The Author:
Oldrich Müller, COO at AnyDesk, with more than 12 years of experience in the security industry.
Prior to AnyDesk, Oldrich served as the COO at companies such as mSales or SocialBakers. Oldrich also spent 12 years in a number of senior positions at AVG Antivirus where he worked with software security issues on a daily basis.