by Ben Vlietstra – IT Manager
Now more than ever, your data and personal information are at risk. It is impossible to guarantee complete safety and security while online. People are at home with more free time on their hands than ever before, and this reality will only contribute to the staggering increase in cyber hacks over the recent years as technology has progressed. Many people associate this risk with malicious hackers, but more commonly the password you use is what makes you vulnerable. It is important to be aware of the risks and the best practices to stay safe online.
There are an array of masks that malware may wear in order to deceive you, but the most common is through spam phishing, which can be sent out through email, instant message, social media, and more. The goal of this style of attack is for the recipient to download or open a document that when opened, injects the malware into your system.
The most common lure that is set by hackers is an alert sent to your device letting you know that a service you use has been compromised. Two real world examples of this lure can be found in the 2013 Target hack, as well as the Yahoo hack which took place from 2014-2016.
Now that we have set the stage for how common, and serious malware attacks can be, lets dive into some applicable ways that you can avoid these hacks.
The best thing you can do to combat these attacks is to be educated on how they look and behave. Knowing what to look for is the first step to prevention. Furthermore, never open unsolicited emails from contacts you do not recognize, or regrading topics that you are not requesting. Email is one of the most common avenues used by hackers. To check if your data has been involved in a breach, and to be proactively notified if one happens in the future, you can look your email up at https://haveibeenpwned.com/. This website is a great resource to safeguard against email breaches.
Another way that you can create increased security around you and your devices is with the passwords you use. As opposed to using the same password for each service or account you have, consider using a password manager such as Lastpass or Keepass. These services allow you to use various different passwords, without having to worry about remembering each one. The service automatically fills the password field at the login page. You can also further secure your login process by using two factor authentication.
These are some of the most effective ways that you are able to enhances the security measures placed within your devices. It is important to be aware and vigilant of the frequency of attempted malware injection into your system. It is also important to take the necessary steps to safeguard when vigilance fails.