Getting hacked is not uncommon and having your information taken hostage by a hacker is a possibility you need to be prepared for, since most of your important files and passwords are all saved in the cloud. Unlike in the movies, where you see a person in the shadows looking at multiple screens and typing out a long list of code, real-world hacking is not always that complex, unless you want to break into the Pentagon. In the article below, we take a look at the 6 most common methods cyber criminals use to compromise your online security and privacy.
6 Ways You Can Get Hacked and How to Avoid Them
6 Ways You Can Get Hacked and How to Avoid Them
You’ll be surprised to know how hackers usually get to break into our computers with absolute minimal effort without ever being caught. People can lose millions of dollars at the mere push of a button. So it’s always a good idea to be prepared for such an attack. It’s best to understand what the hacking process is all about, so we have compiled a list of 6 simple hacking methods that cyber terrorists have used over the years and how to prevent them from happening to you.
It’s one of the most common and easiest ways of having your information taken by hackers. This is not so much of a hack, as much it is a way to trick you into giving your details to the sender. Phishing emails are often emails that claim to be from large organizations which ask you to register your credentials onto their website, which will then be sold or used for illegal purposes.
How to stay safe: Whitelist contacts that you think are safe enough to email you. You should also increase your spam filter to its highest setting and use a link checker to check the legitimacy of links that you get in emails.
Public WiFi Hotspots
The free internet that you get in airports and cafés could be honeypots laid out by hackers. You will be lured into using the Wi-Fi because it’s free. When you connect to that Wi-Fi, the hackers can monitor all your activity including the passwords of your accounts.
How to stay safe: You should either depend on solely your cellular data or connect to the hotspot using a VPN. A VPN encrypts your traffic, making it almost impossible for the hacker to steal your data.
Hackers are able to install malware into Office documents like Excel or Word. Once you open them, they can instantly infect your computer. These files are usually sent to you as emails that won’t fall under the radar as they will be certified as secure. Once you open the files, a pop-up message might ask you to enable macros so you can see the contents of the file. If you enable the feature, your computer will be flooded with malware.
How to stay safe: Never turn on macros and don’t accept attachments from suspicious emails, or from contacts you don’t know about.
Cookies normally save your data in order to make it easier for you to log into websites. They could save your passwords and other website credentials, so if a hacker gets hold of your credentials and stole your cookies, they could easily log into your accounts on the internet and impersonate you without you ever knowing about it. Once they log in, they can change your details and/or password to prevent you from getting back your account.
How to stay safe: Never let your cookies be saved because hackers who are monitoring your activity will be able to know what you have saved. This is especially true for your banking websites and for your personal social media accounts. Make sure you don’t accept cookies from such websites.
The Dictionary Technique
It is one of the most common methods of hacking into users’ passwords. The dictionary method tries every single word in the dictionary against your password to find similar matches. The dictionary will also list some of the most common passwords that are usually found and easy to hack. If you have a weak password, expect this tool to work almost instantly to get your account and personal information compromised.
How to stay safe: Make a strong password. Forget about the common ones like your spouse’s name and your date of birth etc. These are easy to break or guess. One of the best ways of ensuring that your password is safe is by employing a password manager. Just like most websites suggest, you should also be sure to include a combination of punctuations, numbers, letters and as many unique characters as possible. Let every website that you log into have its own password for your account.
These attacks usually strike offices and other places of operation. One of your staff might get an email claiming that a massive attack will be hitting your company’s websites if a particular amount of ransom is not paid to the hackers within a stipulated amount of time. If the hackers are serious and not just pranking, the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack will render your services useless. Sometimes they might even launch a demo of the attack to you, just to let you know that they are serious. They could alternatively threaten to attack your systems with Trojan software as well.
How to stay safe: These attackers generally only use threatening emails to soften their target and do not really carry on with an actual attack. The best way to go about this is to not fall for their schemes and to simply not pay their ransom amount as there is no guarantee that they won’t come back again. It is instead better to install DDoS protection systems.
6 Ways You Can Get Hacked – Final Thoughts
Hacking can be avoided with just a few preventive measures. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap laid out by the hackers.
Summer is an established author when it comes to everything tech. She frequently analyses various software and has reviewed many apps in the process. As a technology enthusiast, Summer has worked in many IT-related industries. She follows cybersecurity news closely and published articles related to the latest tech-trends from around the world.