Cyber Safety Part III – Ashtad Rustomji

More information on threats to our computers, these are things we are hearing a lot more of these days as the criminals move ahead of the game.

Hacking

 Hacking is a term used to describe actions taken by someone to gain unauthorized access to a computer. The availability of information online on the tools, techniques, and malware makes it easier for even non-technical people to undertake malicious activities.

  • They find weaknesses (or pre-existing bugs) in our security settings and exploit them in order to access our information.
  • Install a Trojan horse, providing a back door for hackers to enter and search for our information.

Malware

Malicious software that infects our computer, such as computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware.

  • Intimidate with ‘scareware‘, which is usually a pop-up message that tells us our computer has a security problem or other false information.
  • Reformat the hard drive of our computer causing us to lose all our information.
  • Alter or delete files on hard drive.
  • Steal private information.
  • Send emails on our behalf.
  • Take control of our computer and the softwares running on it.

Pharming

A means to point us to a malicious and illegitimate website by redirecting the legitimate URL. Even if the URL is entered correctly, it can still be redirected to a fake website. Copies the original site down to it’s smallest details to get us to enter our personal details.

Phishing

Fake emails, text messages and websites created to look like they’re from authentic companies. They’re sent by criminals to steal personal and financial information from us. This is also known as “spoofing”.

  • Trick us into giving them information by asking us to update, validate or confirm our account. It is often presented in a manner than seems official and intimidating, to encourage us to take action.
  • Provides cyber criminals with our usernames and passwords so that they can access our online bank account, shopping accounts, etc. and steal our credit card information.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to our computer or our files and displays a message that demands payment in order for the restriction to be removed. The two most common means of infection are via phishing emails that contain malicious attachments and website pop-up advertisements.

Two types of ransomware;

  • Lockscreen: displays an image that prevents us from accessing our computer.
  • Encryption ransomware: encrypts files on our system’s hard drive and sometimes on shared network drives, USB drives, external hard drives, and even some cloud storage drives, preventing us from opening them

Sometimes the notification states that authorities have detected illegal activity on our computer, and that the payment is a fine to avoid prosecution.

Paying doesn’t help.

Regularly back-up data with a removable external storage drive.

Spam

Mass distribution of unsolicited messages, advertising or pornography to addresses which can be easily found on the Internet through things like social networking sites, company websites and personal blogs.

Phish for your information by tricking you into following links or entering details with too-good-to-be-true offers and promotions.

Provide a vehicle for malware, scams, fraud and threats to your privacy.

 

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