Cyber attacks are way more common than you’re aware of. Many people believe it would never happen to them, but given the data, the chances of that happening is very high. Every 29 seconds, someone in the United States falls victim to a hacker’s insidious attack. This equates to 2,224 attacks every day and over 800,000 in one year alone! By understanding how a hacker could gain access to your private and sensitive information, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming part of this year’s statistics. Below are some of the simplest ways you could get hacked.
1. Reused Passwords
The whole purpose of a password is that you’ll be the only one gaining access to whatever account you signed up for. That’s why you should never, ever reuse a password for multiple sites. For example, don’t log into your Twitter account with the same password that you use for your bank account or PayPal account. Hackers are very much aware of this, so if they gained access to one of your accounts somewhere, then it’s game over for the others. Also, don’t save your passwords on your phone. Those can be hacked too.
Have you ever received an email from a trusted company saying that you need to change your password? Even though you logged in a few hours earlier just fine? That’s most likely a phishing scam where hackers send you fake emails that may contain malicious attachments or links to insidious websites that will compromise your computer. One way to discern if an email is fake is by typing in the company’s name in your browser, then signing in. If it went through, this means that there’s no security issue and the email you received was a trap.
You don’t have to be a frequent internet user to come across these annoying pop-up windows that ask you to install some random antivirus software. If you ever make the mistake of doing this, then you’ll actually be flooding your computer with viruses that can turn it into a “zombie” which hackers use with other zombies to hack people, websites, companies and even the government. So make sure to keep your antivirus software up to date and don’t download anything from untrusted locations.
4. Compromised Ad Networks
It’s not just the pop-up ads that you have to be on the lookout for. Even trusted websites, such as major news outlets, can become compromised, spelling disaster for those who visit them. These ads are riddled with malware that hackers use to infiltrate your PC. Ad-blockers are best for protect yourself from malicious ads. But the downside is that they block everything – both the legit ads and the dangerous ones. This prevents websites from earning revenue but it also significantly reduces your chances of a cyberattack.
5. Public WiFi
You’re not even safe using the open WiFi at your favorite coffee shop. You never know who’s lurking around as they wait for you to hopefully log in on your bank account or any other important website. They also spend their time snooping in the traffic on the otherwise normal WiFi access point, scanning your PC for vulnerabilities and weak points. To reduce your chances of this happening, always use a firewall on your system, use a VPN whenever you’re connecting with free WiFi and make sure everything is up to date.
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