Technology has made life easier for us, and we rely on internet-enabled gadgets for most of our online activities. Gone are the days when you had to walk into a brick and mortar bank to do transactions or shop for goods. Online banking and shopping for products and services have revolutionized lives and businesses, but as with everything, there is always a catch.
Due to the same technology, hackers are having a field day hacking into unsecured networks and devices. Most people assume they cannot be hacked, which is a big mistake. Hackers are interested in data, and the easier they can obtain it, the better, which is where your devices come in. Today, digital threats are more sophisticated, and we are not dealing with the less complicated malware versions like worm or Trojans from ten years ago.
You may have heard that installing an anti-virus in your devices is enough, but there is proof that it is not for several reasons:
● You do not have to click to get attacked
In past malware versions, all you needed to do was avoid clicking on suspicious links or visiting malicious sites. The current breed of malware such as malvertising will attack you anyway. In such an attack, a legit site inadvertently attracts malicious content from malicious websites, and the content finds ways of embedding itself in your devices. Attacks known as drive-by downloads involve visiting a legit site on a bad day, and you end up with an infection.
● Too many threats to contend with
A typical anti-virus (anti-malware) software is effective against most known cyber threats but is not overly reliable when it comes to newer viruses. To defend against malware, anti-malware engineers need to study how the virus works. They are then able to instruct the anti-malware how to detect and remove a recently detected attack. Novel viruses infect at least several organizations before security vendors tailor the software to stop the new threat. The process from infection to the formulation of new protection is short, so attackers keep writing new threats.
Using your devices on unsecured networks
As people increasingly use their devices away from homes and offices where they might have secure networks, there are high chances for hackers to use the same unsecured networks. Public places such as coffee shops or airport lounges have free Wi-Fi. Using the right tools, a cybercriminal can easily monitor your online activity and steal your data and identity.
Significant risks that face the public in 2020
The major cyber threats that face the society which anti-virus malware cannot guard against include:
Ransomware is common with hackers and includes them holding your data or devices at ransom by encrypting it. The catch is for you to pay them a payment, mostly in Bitcoin, and in return, they give you a decryption code.
Phishing scams use email to lure their victim into clicking on the email attachment or link contained therein. The email seemingly originates from legit sources like banks, and on clicking on the link; the victim is directed to a fraudulent website that mimics the legit website. The site prompts the victim to divulge personal information such as usernames and passcodes, which the hackers use to steal your data.
In the late 2000s, cryptocurrency was doing well, and many businesses got into it, despite the grave concerns raised. Third-party programs are usually one of the biggest culprits in carrying viruses that end up compromising your devices, covertly stealing your cryptocurrency.
4. AI-enhanced cyber threats
Soon, hacking will be AI-enhanced and foolproof, allowing the hackers 99% success. AI-driven attacks will be made via automation, which will be a plus for human hackers, as the AI does not need to sleep or eat. AI will allow hackers to customize the attacks and extract information from various sources to identify potential victims.
5. Machine learning poisoning
Machine learning is just an algorithm that learns how to make decisions depending on the data fed to it. Machine learning poisoning is a method of feeding an algorithm of misleading or malicious data to make poor decisions.
In 2020, McAfee, a cyber-security firm, demonstrated that Tesla’s Mobileye, which is now obsolete, could be fooled to speeding to 50 m/hr. past the speed limit. This is done by adding a strip of black tape, two-inches wide, to a speed limit. Nobody, even a trained eye could tell the sign had alterations.
Useful Tools for Cyber Security
While an anti-virus is still an essential tool to have in 2020, the following tools will enhance your device’s security layer and keep hackers and malware at bay:
● Install a VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a brilliant way to secure all your devices against malware and hacking. Downloading a VPN ensures your communication is encrypted using the AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard). This encryption standard is so secure that the U.S government uses it to secure its data. It will hide your location and mask your IP address, making it hard for a stalker to gauge your real location.
● Vulnerability Scanner
A vulnerability scanner inspects all the potential exploitation points on a network or device to identify security loopholes. A vulnerability scan detects, then classifies any system weaknesses and gives predictions on how effective the countermeasures are.
● Email security
Email security is any procedure for protecting email content, and guards against any unauthorized access. Email service providers typically have email security measures to secure their clients’ accounts from hackers. These countermeasures include email servers with access control mechanisms and strong passwords, encrypted emails (sent or received), spam filtering software, and web app firewalls.
● Anti-spyware software
The anti-spyware covertly snoops on victims’ online activities to see what they type on their devices such as passwords, usernames, and other confidential data. The anti-spyware software detects and eliminates threats like password decoders or keyloggers.
As technological advancements become more sophisticated, and more people rely on internet-enabled gadgets, hackers become bolder and more cunning. Hackers make a living off data, and the mistake most people make is to assume they cannot be hacked. In 2020 and beyond, taking stringent measures to mitigate cyber-attacks is crucial for your data security.
Installing VPNs, vulnerability scanners, email security, and anti-spyware software are just some of the few measures you can take to prevent ransomware, phishing, Cryptojacking, and other types of cyber-attacks. Most of all, vigilance is also essential, as sometimes all it takes is noticing that a device is behaving funny.