Protecting yourself from online threats

Browsing the web is one of the things we humans like to do the most these days. Almost everything is available online these days including shopping, sharing your updates on social media, your banking, your insurance, your mail (email) and even all your personal files if you have a cloud account. The internet has over the years become a place where so many important things in our lives reside.

With so many important files online, many internet users don’t take the necessary steps even still to keep themselves safe online and don’t protect their devices such as their phones, tablets or pc’s.

There are multiple attacks which can be left online by scammers or other bad individuals which damage your devices or steal your personal data. It is important to be aware of these and what they are so you can take measures to protect yourself:

  • Malware: Often happens when a user clicks on a link and installs software that puts their system at risk. Once the malware is installed it can disrupt the computer, transmit information from the hard drive or block access to a computer completely.
  • Phishing: This is when someone sends communications pretending to be a recognised source with the goal of collecting login information or credit card information from the victims. Recently there was phishing scam from someone pretending to be from Netflix in an email asking people to re-enter their credit card details and when they click the link in the email they get sent to a fake site pretending to Netflix. You can read about that story here on 9 News.
  • Man In The Middle Attack: This occurs when someone is connected on a public network such as a public Wi-Fi network where an attacker is also connected. The attacker will then intercept communications between the victim’s device and the network until they gather sensitive information. Be careful when on public Wi-Fi when it comes to accessing your banking apps or other highly personal or sensitive information.
  • Zero Day exploit: When an attacker takes advantage of a network vulnerability before a system update or security patch has been updated.
  • Computer Virus: Often downloaded by people accidentally on sites offering programs designed to do something a person may be looking for, but once downloaded and installed it is filled with a virus which then starts damaging your PC.
  • Adware: Similar to a virus, Adware can be downloaded accidentally when someone downloads a program from an unsecure source. Adware causes annoying popups to keep appearing on one’s computer when browsing the web or just using the desktop itself.
  • Keylogger: A type of malware that once it gets into your computer it will record everything you type. It’s designed to steal your passwords or other important and personal information.

Being aware of these online threats is important in your own personal and home setting. But it’s also important to be aware of these in your workplace as well, as an online attack can happen in both environments at any time. CISCO has prepared an interesting video which you can watch below and witness how a hacker might implement on online attack in a workplace.

How to protect yourself from these threats online

  1. Get good virus protection software and malware protection: There are internet security companies which offer programs for pc’s, tablets and phones which will protect you against malware, viruses, adware and other dangers online. Some of these can be purchased from popular security software brands such as Norton, Trend Micro or Malwarebytes.
  2. Check the sources of your emails: If you receive an email from someone you know or a company you know but the subject of the email or the text that they wrote has errors, or doesn’t sound like the person you know or the company you know, then it might be fake. If you suspect an email is fake, check the source of the email, what email address it was sent from. If the domain name is not from the company, then it’s likely it’s not from the company or person you know. Don’t click on the links, don’t reply to it, delete it.
  3. Keep your software up to date: Often times system updates which you download for apps or your operating system on your pc, phone or tablet are designed to protect against security breaches, but if you don’t update your device regularly you may leave yourself vulnerable. Updating your devices regularly will protect you against things like Zero Day exploits, or other security vulnerabilities.
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