The Internet has a tremendous impact on the lives of people nowadays. The Internet is much like an ocean, and you, as the captain of the ship, should always be aware of pirates seeking easy profit on your behalf. That said, we find it vital to be acquainted with the dangers of cyber criminals so that you could avoid or combat them easily.
Definition of Malware
Malicious Software, or Malware for short, is the type of software designed specifically to cause damage to your device or steal personal data. There are different types of malware, for example, computer viruses, worms, ransomware, spyware, etc. All of these have varying purposes and methods of achieving those.
How does it spread?
Malware has various ways to spread itself, and as malware develops, it finds new ways of getting into your device: via e-mail, false “DOWNLOAD” buttons (click fraud), through the direct installation (suspicious software), or indirect installation (files that were not supposed to install initially), etc.
The Danger of Malware
Malware is not only about corrupting one’s files for fun or personal gain: it may be of danger to the whole world. That said, allow us to introduce the Wannacry virus: the ransomware that affected over half a million computers worldwide in 2017. The malware exploited the vulnerabilities of Windows OS to encrypt the files of the entire system, demanding money for their decryption (Spoiler alert: the files were not to be decrypted even in case of paying).
The ransomware affected multiple banks, hospitals, ministries, and factories all around the globe: critical patients that required urgent medical help were not able to receive it, banks were not able to work, etc.
The attack eventually stopped, but it was a prime example of how a single worm could cause so much damage. To request an independent audit of your software, you can get in touch with IT experts.
How we fail at composing passwords
Passwords are something we stumble upon daily, yet that doesn’t mean that we are good at composing them. Quite the opposite: people worldwide use primitive and easy-to-remember codes for their passwords, sometimes made out of their names, birthdates, or some well-known fact about them, etc. By doing that, people are making it much easier to crack their accounts open in no time. But how exactly do hackers perform the attacks and guess your passwords?
Brute Force is a method that works on guessing possible combinations of an aimed password in hopes of finding the correct one. Of course, hackers don’t do it themselves: specifically-made software is there to help them. In most cases, the software uses different sets of databases containing a diversity of commonly-used passwords to try out. In some cases, the software is being provided with vital information about you (your name, location, birthdate, etc.) and tries to guess the password based on this data. The software, being well aware of the weak and short passwords out there, can crack them open in less than a second, making your account vulnerable to all sorts of stuff: it can spread false information about you, use your finances, or advertise phishing, etc. There are different ways of Brute Forcing, some of which test a singular password against various usernames. The method implies that the attacker is trying to find a username for the particular password rather than targeting one exact user. This method has proven to be quite effective, as it implies a different approach, giving the fraud much more space.
Phishing is a type of fraud where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to deceive a victim into revealing personal data to the attacker. There are different types of phishing, the most popular being phishing via email. A half of all breaches in the last year involved this particular method. With the development of phishing techniques, new tools, ready-made templates, and so-called phishing kits, the attackers are getting better at stealing the data from the users, including passwords.
What are phishing kits?
A phishing kit is a collection of elements and tools which allow hackers with little coding knowledge to create a valid phish. Hackers in need of an attack also use a kit to extend a phishing campaign at short notice. Phishing kits and everything the hacker needs for a successful attack is available on the Dark Web.
To sustain the received knowledge about personal data security, look this video up.
What is Data Breach?
Data breach, or data leakage, is the release of private information to an untrusted environment. Companies, governments, and regular people can experience complications from having their personal information exposed. Hackers can get to you through all types of sources, whether it is the services you use, Bluetooth, phishing strategies, etc. Even the minor vulnerability of the software or the website can lead to massive data leaks.
Twitter Data Breach
One doesn’t have to look far to find a prime example of mass data leakage, as it happened in July 2020. The most popular Twitter accounts, such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Apple, etc., started “feeling generous” and agitated the followers to send them Bitcoin to get it back doubled. In less than an hour, the hackers received somewhere around $100.000 worth of Bitcoin. It is still unclear how the leakage happened, but some suggest it happened with the very help of Twitter’s employees.
Facebook Data Breach
Of course, Facebook, being one of the world’s most popular social web, suffered through a data breach as well. Facebook faced multiple data leaks through the course of its existence. The last leak happened not too long ago, in 2021, revealing phone numbers, birthdates, and locations of millions of people worldwide. This particular leak seems to be the biggest one in years, meaning Facebook had to pay an enormous fine: five billion dollars, which appears to be the highest fine for a data leak ever.
The examples mentioned before alone show us the importance of Internet security. The Internet is a place full of dangers, so one should always be aware of them. Sadly, attacks like those mentioned earlier are real threats to the lives of people. Financial loss, bankruptcy, deaths of people – these are the results of imperfect web security. I hope my review helps you to be prepared and protect yourself now.