Cyber-attacks have been steadily climbing in recent years, with scams becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect.
However, why is this case? Surely everyone knows that cybercriminals exist and that best practices should always be followed when online? Well, yes and no.
While Cyberattacks are no secret, the nature of the attacks has changed to match the more advanced computers, systems, and anti-virus products on the market. These cybercriminals have also had to adapt to changing consumer behavior, as people are more tech-savvy than they were ten or twenty years ago.
As a result, it is far harder to recognize whether a message is a phishing scam or not, for instance. This can catch many people unaware and leave them vulnerable to attack.
It is imperative to recognize such risks, and prioritizing secure message is crucial. This approach ensures that your sensitive data remains shielded from prying eyes and potential phishing exploits, acting as a digital fortress with robust encryption to safeguard confidential communication from deceptive attempts.
To make the situation worse, the growing dependence on digital devices, from smartphones to computers to IoT devices to smartwatches, has opened up the playing field for Cyber criminals.
There are far more opportunities to gain access to devices or private networks and cause serious damage. Given the increasing number of remote workers worldwide, protecting each device on a corporate network has become virtually impossible, for example.
To stand a far better chance of avoiding being a victim of a scam or cyber attack, you need to understand what the different threats are, and how they function. Conducting regular risk assessment procedures, such as cloud penetration testing, can help assess the strength of your security measures by simulating real-world cyber-attacks and identifying potential vulnerabilities.
Here is a list of the most dangerous cyber security threats in circulation:
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Heading this list is malware, one of the most damaging forms of cyberattack. A malware attack targets sensitive information by compromizing private devices or networks.
It does this by planting destructive malware programs onto end-user devices, systems, or servers, causing them to malfunction and even hand over partial control to the cybercriminal. There are several different types of malware to be aware of.
One of the most serious is ransomware. This is when the malware gains access to a device and then encrypts files so the user can no longer access them. The hacker will then ask the victim to pay them a ransom to regain access.
Another common form of malware attack is a Trojan. As the name suggests, these malware programs disguise themselves as normal files to gain access to your system.
Once in, they will work away undetected in the background, hoovering up data and taking remote control of the system.
If you want to learn more about malware, clues about spotting it and how you can protect yourself from its devastating effects, click here.
Another common type of cyber security threat is a phishing scam. These pose as innocent messages delivered via text message, email, or social media direct message, trying to get you to click a link or input private information.
Phishing scams have evolved considerably in recent years and are now highly sophisticated. Scammers will pose as individuals or institutions you know and trust, such as a best friend, family member, local government, tax authorities, bank, or insurance company.
They often inject a sense of urgency, such as warning you about a breach of your bank account, a recent insurance issue, or a change to your policy.
Because they sound legitimate, victims often go along with it without a second thought.
Just as with malware attacks, phishing scammers are after your private information. To protect yourself from phishing scams, always double-check with the ‘real’ third party they purport to be.
Lastly, there are insider threats. This is a different form of cyberattack because they are often unintentional.
An insider threat is a person closely associated with your business who accidentally or deliberately gives access to your private information and network to a malicious third party.
Often, this is due to their unwilling part in a wider phishing scam, but sometimes, it is because an ex-employee or friend feels disgruntled and wishes to cause you harm.