The internet plays a huge part in our daily lives. We're able to receive our daily news online, conduct our banking transactions, and get connected with each other simply with a click of a mouse. With many of our everyday activities being carried out digitally, it's vital to grasp the pitfalls of online interactions.
Here are some frequent cyber risks that you are exposed to online:
Short for malicious software, malware comes in various forms; most typically, a computer program that infects your computer system, such as a virus, trojan, or other files, eventually enabling thieves to access your information without your knowledge.
Phishing employs email or messaging services to gather sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or credit card data to be used for fraud. Phishing efforts are often disguised as coming from a credible source—friends, family, colleagues or trusted companies and sometimes contain an urgent call to action to persuade you to lower your guard and respond without thinking. You would never convey your credit card credentials to a stranger on the street, but if you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the government or a bank and they say you'll be fined or your account will be closed unless you give them your card number, you might not realize it's a scam right away.
Your social media accounts are another channel for you to be exposed to phishing activities and viruses. Beware of opening links that originate from dubious sites or even communications from friends that read differently than they typically do.
Watch out for spelling issues in brand emails or improper language; they might be signals that you're receiving a phishing email. You may also mouse over any link to see where it will send you. Don't click that link if it doesn't appear correct or looks too good to be true.
This is a severe kind of malware, ransomware installs itself on a user machine or network. Once installed, it limits access to features (in part or whole) until a "ransom" is paid to third parties.
In this sort of cyberattack, crooks gain access to IT systems from outside an enterprise. This illegal access provides rich pickings to intruders. Traditionally they have sought to obtain access to bank account information or credit card databases. However, intellectual property is another source of wealth. The use of social engineering, persuading personnel into exposing usernames and passwords, remains a problem.
Knowing and identifying the hazards you encounter online is only one component of keeping oneself safe in this digital era. There are various steps you may take to keep your data safe. You can refer to my article "Identity Theft in Real Estate Transactions" in order to know the steps you can take to guard against such attacks.
Assistant Manager, Real EstateTreadstone Associates