Advancements in technology such as automation and relying on the internet for every task comes with its downside. On the internet, the downside is cyber-attacks which you will encounter almost on a daily basis. Cyber attacks are any attacks carried out by cybercriminals who exploit a flaw or a vulnerability in a network or system. These attacks destroy, alter and even steal information from various systems and organizations. Sometimes they may hijack the whole system and demand ransom. To avoid this situation, you should always be prepared on how to deal with cyber attacks. Here are details of some common cyber-attacks;
These are the most common cyber attacks which almost everybody with an email address has experienced. Phishing attacks are usually carried out via emails, and in most cases, they aim to steal your data and information, sometimes they are more severe to an extent they can steal your bank account details. These attacks mostly masquerade as legitimate third parties in emails requesting for information or changes in your account. These emails include links which if you click will lead you to a spoofed site which looks similar to a trusted site. You will then enter your personal details and passwords without even knowing.
In the past, these emails just went straight to the spam folder. Hence you wouldn’t have to open them. But ever since, they have evolved, and you might find one your primary inbox folder. To avoid these attacks, don’t open emails which you clearly know they don’t concern you. For instance, why should you open an email with a title, ‘you have won a million dollars,’ yet you haven’t participated in any competition?
Phishing and malware attacks always compete for the top position in any ranking for top cyber-attacks. Malware attacks are more dangerous, and they are the reason why you should always brace your system for any attacks. Malware is a general term for malicious software or code, and this includes viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, malvertising and potentially any software that is engineered to cause harm to a system. Malware usually destroys data, alters it and even hijacks a service for ransom.
Malware is spread through the internet via email attachments, altered software download, peer to peer sharing platforms and many more ways which essentially include downloading anything. To prevent malware attacks, it’s recommended to use updated antivirus software, an updated operating system and also patching vulnerabilities when they are known. One should also avoid unverified downloads and clicking malicious links.
Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks
As the name suggests, these are cyber-attacks in which a cybercriminal intercepts information before it reaches the end target. Sometimes the cybercriminal can pose as the end target and hence obtain all the information you were sending or exchanging with another party. MITM attacks usually occur through unsecured networks such as unsecured free WIFI hotspots. They can be very dangerous attacks in case the attacker will be able to read the intercepted information. This is because the attacker will get your password, usernames, and everything you are doing on the network.
To avoid these, always use and verify if the network you are connected to is secure. This can be a harder task, but it’s much simpler if you use a VPN. A VPN directs your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, and it also masks your IP address. Even if your traffic is intercepted, the attacker will not be able to decrypt the information, and hence it will be useless to him/her. Also, when using the internet, ensure you see HTTPS in the URL bar. HTTPS is more secure than HTTP as it uses security certificates and this ensures your connection to the server is secure.
These are attacks targeting your passwords. They are complicated attacks as criminals employ various tactics to try and get or crack your passwords. In fact, all the cyber attacks mentioned above can be used to get your passwords. Most times, attackers use software designed to crack passwords in what is known as brute force attacks. The only way to avoid password attacks is either by using a secure network connection, a stronger password or a combination of both. It is also advisable to use different passwords for different accounts.
There are many other cyber-attacks which we have not mentioned but what’s more important is how you deal with them. The best way is putting up mechanisms that anticipate the attacks, mitigate them and even know how to avoid them. When prepared, you suffer less damage!