Biggest Cyber Security Threats and Tips For Prevention

Cyber security threats are well known to everyone, these threats take away your computer security or IT security. Cyber security is the process of protecting computer programs, networks, and data from theft, damage, etc. It is very important to protect ourselves from cyber security threats as it could lead to identity theft. USA’s famous intelligence officials warned that cyber security threats and digital spying are the top threats to national security.

In a famous cyber scam, attackers sent fake emails to the accounting and finance departments of various companies. According to the FBI, this scam led to the loss of more than $2 billion in just 2 years.

Biggest Cyber Security Threats

The biggest cyber security threats are briefed as follows:

Spam

Spam is the method of sending information to several users as well as collecting information from them without their permission.
It involves sending unsolicited messages including advertisements to various email addresses which are found on the internet through social networking websites, websites of companies, etc.

Viruses

Viruses are malicious programs that are sent either through emails or are downloaded without your consent. After getting installed, they infect your device as well as the devices of everyone present in your contact list.
They scan your computer and find personal information such as logins and passwords. They also disable the security settings of your computer. They can even hack your web browser and display unwanted ads.

Spyware & Adware

They are used by third parties to have unauthorised access to your computer. They collect information from your device without your permission.
They have installed automatically on your computer and infect your computer with viruses. It is very difficult to remove them.

Trojan Horses

Trojan horse is a malicious program that is embedded within a legitimate software. Once it is downloaded to your device, it installs itself and runs automatically.
It can record your login information, credit card information, etc. through your typing. It can also delete your files and use your device to hack other devices.

Worms

Unlike a virus, worms do not require to attach themselves to emails or any programs. They work on their own and live in computer’s memory.
They spread by sending themselves to other computers in a network. They wreak havoc within a network by shutting down parts of the internet.

Backdoors

As the name says, it acts as a backdoor for the attackers to enter in a system. They may enter by bypassing security controls, poor configuration, etc.

Hacking

Hacking is the process in which cyber criminals acquire unauthorised access to your device by finding pre-existing bugs in security settings of your device.
In this, the attackers install a Trojan horse on your computer which acts as a backdoor for hackers through which they can access your data.

Malware

Malware is a malicious software which infects your computer with viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and adware. It sends pop-up messages to your computer telling you that your computer has a security problem, etc.
It deletes files, formats hard drive, and steals sensitive information from your device. It also sends emails on your behalf and even takes control of your device.

Denial-of-service (DoS) attack

Denial of service attack is designed in such a way that it makes the device unavailable to its actual user.
In this attack, the attacker takes control of your device. The attacker can then, send large amounts of data to a website or send spam emails to various email addresses from your computer.

Botnets

A botnet is a collection of software robots known as ‘bots’. These robots create a group of infected computers that are controlled by another computer remotely. It is very difficult to detect them.
They can send spam emails having viruses and spread various malware. They can also use your computer for DoS attack against other systems.

Social engineering

In this, the attackers convince users to reveal their information such as passwords, credit card numbers, etc. by impersonating as a bank, customer, etc.

Phishing

Phishing is the process of acquiring confidential information such as login information, credit card information from users. It directs users to fake websites which seem like legitimate ones. It is a form of social engineering and is also known as “spoofing”.
In this, fake emails, text messages are sent to users to steal their personal and financial information.

Pharming

It is the technique of gaining your personal information by redirecting you to an illegitimate website. It convinces you that the fake website is a legitimate one by making the website look exactly like the real one.

Wi-Fi Eavesdropping

It is the method of acquiring information shared between hosts on an unsecured network. In this, personal information is stolen by accessing your computer.

Direct-access attacks

It is the method of copying data from another computer by gaining access to it. It can modify the operating system, install software worms, etc.

Ransomware

It is a type of malware that restricts you from accessing your computer. It displays a message demanding payment to remove the restriction.

Taking some precautionary measures may help you in preventing cyber security thefts and identity thefts:

• Install a trustworthy anti-virus and update it regularly.
• Install a firewall in your home and office.
• Regularly update your data.
• Apply email filters to prevent spam emails.
• Maintain your contact lists.
• Never open attachments or click on links in emails sent from unknown addresses.
• Immediately contact your internet service provider in case your internet connection is very slow or if you can’t access some websites.

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  1. By Zuleika Khan

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