Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our offline tasks have moved online, making us spend more time online, isn’t it? For instance, working from home, shopping, watching movies, ordering food, bank transactions, ordering groceries and medicines, and the list goes on. This situation has made cyber safety crucial as your family and you spend so much time with your devices.
While sitting in the comforts of your home, evading the dangerous coronavirus, there is danger lurking at every nook and corner of the Internet. Cyber safety’s definition, in a nutshell, is being secure online.
With most corporate firms enabling employees to work from home (WFH), cyber attacks have increased in number and in severity. Ransomware, unleashed by Blackhat criminals, have led to the loss of millions by people and organizations since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cyber Safety and Security
Malware like ransomware, spyware, viruses, worms and trojan horses, phishing, online scams, SQL injection attacks, zero-day attacks, are the commonly occurring cyber threats. These compromise the safety of an organization or a person, their money, and private data.
However, do you know that there is more to cyber safety than these ways of cyber attacks? For instance, forms of cyberbullying like online harassment, impersonation, cyberstalking are also some crimes perpetrated online that have deep and long-lasting impact on the victim.
The Internet is a valuable resource for learning, innovation, research, networking, and skill development that has made the world a smaller place. But, cyber safety is essential to keep ourselves safe from multiple scams and dangers lurking on the Web.
Even a company of the size of Cognizant Technology Solutions was not spared by Blackhat hackers during COVID-19. In April 2020, the company that hires over 300,00 employees globally, lost a massive amount of unencrypted data to Maze Ransomware. The loss in terms of money was estimated to be around $50 million to $70 million.
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Types of Cyber Attacks
Do you recall seeing emails in the spam folder of your inbox, claiming to originate from an extremely rich person looking to handover their great wealth to someone trustworthy? These emails ask the recipient, that is you, to click on a link to begin the process. Beisdes, some spam emails that claim that you have won a prize worth billions of dollars and ask you to click on a link to claim the prize.
These tactics have been in place for decades, and now, have become more willful and more aggressive. These are just the tip of the iceberg. However, there are more dangerous attacks hidden and executed on clueless Internet users like you. How do you protect yourself and the people around you when you are not aware of the dangers? Below are some of the commonly executed cyber threats.
The most common cyber attacks that start through malicious emails are phishing and malware.
This involves sending a mail to a recipient intending to steal sensitive information like credit/debit card details. Although, the mail looks like it is coming from a legitimate source (like a bank/office/insurance company), clicking through leads to a scam website. Then, the recipient is lured into entering their confidential information. This can lead to victims losing their money or sensitive information like passwords to their online bank accounts.
Using a mail that looks legitimate, recipients are asked to click on a link that downloads a software called malware onto their computer system. Spyware, ransomware, viruses like trojan horses, and worms are all various kinds of malware.
This happens when an attacker injects a malicious code in the server that uses SQL (Structured Query Language) and forces the server to release sensitive or confidential information.
Denial Of Service Attacks
This is used to flood the target system, server or network with a huge amount of traffic. These are carried out with networks of Internet-connected computer systems. This leads to an overwhelmed machine, server or network leading to it shutting down to its intended users. Buffer overflow attack is a common DDOS attack.
Other Cyber Threats
When we talk of cyber threats, it is usually spoken in the context of online attacks that compromise our machines, network, data and money. However, other aspects hazardous to us, our friends and family, are also present.
Cyberbullying is using technology to target, threaten, embarrass or harass a person. It is bullying that happens through online messages, social media, emails, and chat rooms. Flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, trickery and cyberstalking are some common forms of cyberbullying.
Stealing someone’s identity by pretending to be them online. This happens when your personal information – such as identification number, birthday records, photos, bank account and banking details – is easily available online.
Claiming someone else’s work as yours constitutes plagiarism. This includes copying words or ideas of others, not attributing someone else’s words and ideas used in one’s work, misplacing citations in one’s work.
Cyber Safety: Tips for Kids and Adults
With almost all of us active on multiple social media sites, privacy’s definition has changed. Still, did you know that the data you put out on social media sites can be misused for someone else’s gain?
Take some of these precautions online for your safety and that of your loved ones.
- Never share your personal information with unknown people. Also, do not put out all your personal information across social media sites.
- Choose strong passwords and do not save them on your devices or machines. A strong password is a combination of letters, special characters and numbers.
- Practise safe browsing – do not click links in emails from unknown people. Moreover, look for spelling mistakes, odd emails citing hefty amounts as prizes, urgent messages; these are all signs of phishing emails.
- Do not download songs/movies/games/ videos/content from poorly recommended websites.
- Shop only from secure and known websites.
- Do not leave your device unattended – always lock it when it is not in use.
- Be wary of people you meet online. Do not let kids interact with suspicious or unknown people over the Internet.
- Keep your antivirus up to date.