Recent world events related to Covid-19 have radically changed the lives of people around the world. Businesses have to adjust to rapidly changing conditions, and organizing remote work has become a serious challenge for many companies. In the wake of the pandemic, the surge in cybercrime has made this process even more difficult. Many entrepreneurs are deeply immersed in the processes of how to properly set up ads, buy real Instagram followers, store money on the exchange, but they neglect the security setting and do not know how to protect their accounts and online wallets from hacking. There is a basic set of rules which, if applied systematically, will ensure you a zone where there is no risk.
What are the types of cyber threats?
Statistically, people with the same occupation or lifestyle have approximately similar threat patterns. If a person is different from the general level, for instance, he is engaged in entrepreneurial activity, he will have different risks.
The most common tool of cybercriminals is malware. They create it themselves so that they can use it to damage the user’s computer, or disable it. Hundreds of thousands of bots scan the network for vulnerable systems, access with weak passwords, open databases, and send tons of spam with malicious attachments. Malware can be different. There are programs such as viruses that infect files with malicious code. In order to spread inside the computer system, they copy themselves. There are adware programs that can spread malware. Another type is spyware, programs that secretly monitor user actions and collect information, such as credit card data.
It is very common for people to be targeted by phishing attacks, the purpose of which is to trick users into obtaining confidential information. In such attacks, criminals send emails to victims posing as an official organization. This activity generates billions of dollars from simple user inattention.
There are Man-in-the-Middle attacks, during which a cybercriminal intercepts data during its transmission. He becomes an intermediate link in the chain, and the victims do not even know about it. You can be exposed to such an attack if you connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
How to improve cybersecurity?
First, use antivirus, even if you are a very attentive user, never install any third-party software, and the list of sites you visit is limited to a few very reliable ones. Your computer may be infected simply because your browser has installed plugins and someone knew they were vulnerable before the update was released. This is not the most common way of spreading malware today, but it does happen. Antivirus is an important security element and can prevent such threats.
Second, use strong passwords. The complexity of passwords directly determines their strength, so it is recommended to use long, random combinations of characters. That way, they can hardly be broken by the enumeration of different options and are not related to the user’s identity. Do not use the same passwords for all email accounts, social networks, and banking services. Ideally, there should be a different combination for each case. It is important to keep passwords in a safe place without free access, for example on a flash drive. Never store passwords in the cloud, and never confirm an action when the browser system asks you to save the password for the next login.
Third, always and everywhere use 2FA. These are one-time passwords that are generated every 30 seconds and are important to enter when you make any important operations. Thus, you have several codes that will be sent to your phone, to email, and from Google Authenticator. If you use them in tandem, this will guarantee maximum protection for any operations.
Fourth, use a VPN. In this way, your IP address changes, and you are inside the virtual network protected if you connect via Wi-Fi or other unprotected connections.
How to avoid a social engineering attack?
At the word “cybersecurity” most people think of how to protect themselves from hackers exploiting technical vulnerabilities in networks. But there is another way to infiltrate organizations and networks – through human weaknesses. This is social engineering, a way to trick someone into revealing information or giving access to data. For example, someone who poses himself as a support employee might ask users for their passwords. Very often people voluntarily give this data, especially if they think that the request comes from an authorized person.
Social engineers often use the illusion of urgency in the hope that the victim will not think much about what is happening. So, just a minute of thinking can help you identify and prevent an attack.
Do not rush to provide data by phone or follow the link. Better call the official number or go to the official website. Use a different contact method to verify the source’s credibility. For example, if a friend asks for money in an e-mail, write or call him on the phone to make sure that the letter is really from him.
Think about your digital footprint. By publishing a lot of personal information on the Internet, you help attackers. To get started, you can view your pages on social networks and clear them of personal data that can be used by attackers: addresses, phone numbers, names and ages of children and parents, information about expensive purchases, and so on.
Social engineering attacks are extremely dangerous because they occur in completely ordinary situations. However, if you fully understand their mechanism and take basic precautions, you are much less likely to become their victim.
To sum up, the rules mentioned above will help you to know how to reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks. Remember that security is one of the fundamental aspects of digital hygiene, and it should not be neglected.