As the Internet gets faster and better, there are benefits and drawbacks that come with the advances. One downside to global connectivity is the rise of hackers, the digital assailants who can compromise an entire system with dangerous code. Hackers present a host of problems for Internet users both personally and professionally, so it’s important to keep yourself safe from them. In this article, we’ll discuss six methods hackers often use and how to avoid falling victim to these tactics.
1. Scripts and malware. One of the most common security threats is the malicious code hackers use to deliver a “payload.” This payload, in the form of a small program, can do a range of harmful things from logging personal info to crashing a PC. The best way to avoid this is to avoid downloading and running untrusted executables while also maintaining up-to-date anti-virus software.
2. Fake Wireless Application Protocols (WAPs). Public wireless Internet can be useful when traveling, but hackers will take advantage of this by setting up fake networks in a public area. When a user connects to it, personal information like passwords and data become available to the hacker. You can avoid this by using trusted private connections.
3. Keyloggers. Easy to get but hard to remove, keyloggers work like Trojan viruses, inserting themselves into unprotected systems. Once there, performance often suffers while keystrokes are recorded and sent to a malicious third party. To keep yourself safe, never download strange files and do thorough PC scans if you suspect something’s amiss.
4. Scam emails. While typically easy to catch, there are numerous official looking emails sent to people by hackers. You might suddenly get an email about your PayPal account, stating a vague issue has come up. The false email won’t include specifics, but it will look like the real thing. The unsuspecting usually click links in the email, leading them to dangerous executables. Firewalls and protective services can stop some of these emails from reaching your inbox, and practicing caution towards those that slip through the cracks can keep you safe.
5. Bait programs. These programs tend to promise various features for free, like virus scans or performance enhancement. However, once the sneaky program “runs,” it actually loads its own payload into the system. This was a common tactic for trying to sell shoddy anti-virus programs. Checking the rating and researching the program is the best way to keep safe.
6. Simple passwords. By and large one of the easiest ways to be compromised, hackers will start guessing basic passwords for entry into systems. They rely on factory defaults and careless individuals, allowing them to get simple login info without effort. Always maintain a complex password system and, if needed, change it every month or so.