Online hacking is a huge problem at the moment. It is now the most common crime in the country with almost one in ten people falling victim. But how does it happen and what can you do to prevent it?
Despite it seeming difficult, to the right people, accounts are hacked in simple ways. Understanding how your accounts can be compromised is important and can prevent you from being “hacked” in the first place.
The Usual Suspect
Most people reuse passwords and in some cases, use the same password for every account. This is extremely insecure. Huge websites varied from Linkedin to eHarmony have had their password databases leaked. This has made passwords, along with usernames and email addresses readily available online. This gives hackers access to your most personal information.
No matter how good you are at securing your passwords, you can’t control how well the websites you use secure them. You should use a different password everywhere. Despite this seeming like a difficult task, a password manager can help with this. Websites like LastPass and DashLane are recommended ones you can easily use.
Keyloggers work to capture sensitive information about you like credit card numbers and passwords. They are pieces of malicious software that run in the background, logging keystrokes. The people creating this software often sell the information to an attacker over the internet.
This kind of software arrives via exploits on your computer, such as outdated versions of java. A lot of computers are running on older versions and this can lead to you being compromised through a Java applet on a web page. They can also arrive within other software like when you download a third-party tool. This tool may be malicious, capturing your information and passwords.
So, how do you stop this? It’s easy enough, keep your software updated, don’t keep putting off those update pop-ups you keep seeing. Use a decent antivirus program, this is especially important if you’re using your computer for things like online banking. Finally, avoid downloading untrustworthy software. If you’re unsure whether what you are about to download is unsafe or not, do a little research. Google the name of the software or anything your about to download and look for any reviews that report it as unsafe.
You have more than likely received scams like this, I know I have, and some can be very convincing. Phishing is something a lot of hacker’s use. It is essentially the attacker impersonating someone and then asking for your passwords or any other sensitive information.
Examples of this kind of scam are usually emails and phone calls. They will pretend to be your bank, Facebook account, Amazon, Ebay etc. These kinds of emails/phone calls will attempt to get your online information. Often using things like authenticity or problems with your bills as a subject.
Only recently I received a very convincing email from Apple saying I had been charged for something that I knew I had not purchased. The link to ‘resolve the bill’ took me to a website that asked me to insert my Icloud details. The hackers had set up the website and email identical to Apples. Knowing I hadn't purchased anything, I emailed the official Apple and questioned them about it.
If you are at all suspicious of any supposed bills, account activity emails etc, do not be afraid to investigate first. Never give suspicious emails your information without investigating first. This is the easiest way for hackers to get your information.
If a hacker succeeds in any of these schemes, it opens a door for them to access information such as your emails. This leads to them potentially having the power to change your passwords for your accounts. If you are using the internet for anything vital, then you must be cautious with your passwords and information etc. Be aware and be smart online.