Cyber threats have been a prevalent danger lurking in the shadows of the advancement in technology, and with the current situation brought upon by the pandemic; it has been a rising issue we need to be aware of. As most of us are getting comfortable with distance learning, those with malicious intent have been getting comfortable with this new lifestyle as well. We need to be more vigilant than ever about our cyber security.
In a time where our go-to solution for everything is the internet, are we really safe from malicious intent? Practicing proper cyber security measures are important for us to be safe from any harm that may be brought upon us by online attackers. In a new age of security threats, we must also be aware of new methods to counter these threats.
There are various cyber threats lurking in the shadows of the internet. From simple spreading of viruses to elaborate schemes in order to phish your personal information, a myriad of cyber threats have been popping up along with the advancement of technology. Listed below are a few of the most common cyber security threats present today and are the ones you will most likely encounter while surfing the internet.
Illegal impersonation, as the name suggests, is the act of creating a false identity and pretending to be someone else. This often happens to famous people and celebrities whose fans sometimes pose as the actual person. However, this can also happen to you or anyone else in the internet.
Most social media sites have a built in system which tracks reports of false accounts and shuts them down automatically once there are enough complaints. However, the damage could already be done by the time the false account gets shut down. If someone were to do this to you with malicious intent, your reputation would be tarnished.
Phishing is not the one that requires a fishing pole and a hook to catch fish, but is instead a method using elaborate schemes and lies to get your personal information out of you. In this scenario, your personal information is the fish being hooked by the schemes and lies of the culprit.
You may not think of this as something menacing, after all, all they took was your personal information, how bad can it get? Well, it depends on the information phished from you. If it was simply your email, they could use it to fill in online surveys using your email address and pretend it was you. Or if they happened to take away personal information like your address or work schedule, they could host a theft attempt at your house when no one is around.
Malware is an abbreviation for malicious software and is a collection of different software used to do harm to the receiving party. For the most part, it would just be harmless pop-up ads and spam mails, but there are times when they can do serious damage to your hardware and software. Viruses are a prime example of these malware which could pose a threat to your software.
Certain malware can also be used in conjunction with one another to make for an effective one-two combo. For instance, those pesky spam mails or pop-up ads may hide a hidden link that will lead you to a website where you may unknowingly download a Trojan, worm, or virus. These malware could them worm their way into your software and hardware and whenever you plug in an external device, it gets transferred and gets spread to a wider area.
Even with the help of anti-virus applications, there are still certain malware they fail to recognize and block. There are even certain malware known as spy-ware which, as the name suggests, is a program used to spy on a user without the user ever knowing that such a program ever existed.
Now that you know what to be aware of, it is now time to be vigilant and be wary of your actions online. Here are a few cyber security tips to keep you from danger’s grasp.
The first thing you should take note of is to never share your personal information online. These include birthdates, passwords, and other information which could be used to impersonate you. Even with someone you know, it is never a good idea to be complacent and blurt out your personal information except for when you truly trust the person.
You should also remember that most online forms you may fill up only require you email address and nothing more. If they request other information such as passwords or birth dates, then you should know that there is something fishy going on.
Think of your personal information as a key that is used to open your vault of treasure which you must hide from attackers who want to obtain that precious key. Refrain from showing your key as much as possible except for when you are truly certain you can trust that person.
The best way to avoid being hit by a ball is to see that ball coming at you while it is still far away. The same principle applies for cyber security as well. if you have knowledge about the cyber security threats and how they are commonly used, you will be able to avoid the majority of cyber-attack attempts thrown at you.
Becoming knowledgeable in the common cyber threats and methods used to implement these threats not only helps you, but can also be beneficial for the people around you as well. You will be able to spot when one of your friends is about to fall into the hands of a phishing scheme, or when you parent’s personal information may be in danger. This could greatly increase the awareness of others around you as well and help them become knowledgeable as well.
Data phishing comes in all shapes and forms. From simple online forms, to false accounts messaging you to get your information, or even elaborate schemes such as a false raffle hosted solely to phish data from a lot of people who fell into the trap. You would be surprised to learn the number of different data phishing scheme existing in this very day and age.
Becoming aware of these schemes and tricks will enable you to avoid being a victim of data phishing and you will be able to protect your privacy and personal information from those with malicious intent. A tip you could use to able to determine when there might be possible data phishing is when a website requires you to fill in information aside from your email, age and gender. If they insist on asking for any more personal information when they are clearly not needed, you can start to be suspicious of that site.
There is an on-going gag where anti-virus software hardly does anything to protect your device from malware. And while there may be some truth to this, it is still better to have a tiny bit more protection than to have none.
For the most part, anti-virus software will be able to detect regular malware that may try to invade your device. However, there are instances where the malware are made considerably well and can conceal itself from your anti-virus software.
The best way around this is to invest in good anti-virus software and constantly update it to make sure that it will be able to detect most malware that tries to enter your device. The few minutes you spend browsing through reviews and updating your anti-virus will be a lot shorter than the time you will spend trying to clear your name when your account sends multiple spam messages to your contacts.
It should be common knowledge already that there are serious risks when you are trying to access shady websites. And you should already be aware that you should say away from these websites to avoid any cyber threats.
These websites excel at dragging unsuspecting victims down their dark domain by using multiple pop-up ads that would peak the interest of almost anyone. From ads stating that thy know the best way to lose 15 kilos in 10 days, to those that say there are multiple singles in your area.
This one goes hand in hand with the previous one in our list. If you happened to pirate something from an illegal and shady website, then chances are that there will be something attached to your file if you are not careful. From Trojans, to viruses, or even spyware, there is no telling what might be included in the treasure you claimed when you were pirating the internet.
One misconception about Google’s function known as incognito mode is that you are completely invisible from everything and that you are safe from any cyber threats there are.
The truth is that while incognito mode does erase your browsing history when you exit a tab, it won’t erase your browsing history from your internet provider or any website threat you may have visited. So, any information phished from you will still be in the archives of the website you visited and can be retrieved by the admins of that page anytime.
Reading up more about cyber security threats and how you, as a student, can further protect your data is important for your education journey. Please stay vigilant!
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