It seems like each day you hear about another one. Hackers filing fraudulent tax returns. Fake shipping emails that trick you into downloading a virus. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t panic. The first step is to lookout for likely dangers. Start by learning about these five cyberthreats. Knowing what to watch for can help you sound the alarm should you encounter one.

 

Ransomware

Remember those old movies where the kidnapper demands money from distraught parents if they ever want to see their little Jimmy again? Today’s criminals are doing the same thing. But this time it’s your financial information, customer data, or digital assets that are being held ransom. Recently, a ransomware attack hobbled the city of Atlanta for several days, crippling government services and frustrating citizens.

 

Botnets

Remote control is a great thing when you want to change the channel. But it’s not so convenient when criminals overtake your internet-connected device and control it remotely for their own purposes. Formed from two words, “robot” and “network,” the thief creates a network of these seized devices. Using bots, criminals have the power to control the network and send out spam messages from your device. Experts suggest changing factory default passwords to internet-enabled devices as soon as it’s up and running.

 

Cybercrime can pose a significant threat to your personal and business assets. Your first line of defense is awareness.

 

Phishing

This threat takes it’s queue from an innocent recreational activity—fishing. Just like casting your baited hook into the water to see what you might catch, this practice snares unsuspecting users swimming in the internet. For example, a vendor you do business with sends you an email stating they “detected unusual account activity.” You’re asked to click the link for more information. It’s really a cyberthief in disguise who downloads a virus instead.   

 

Malware

Short for “malicious software,” this threat refers to a broad category of programs than can inflict damage to your system. You might have heard them referred to as viruses, worms, or Trojan horses. It also includes spyware that looks over your shoulder while surfing the web and copies down your credit card information when you purchase something. This resource provides easy-to-understand definitions for various types of malware and suggests ways to prevent infections.

 

Cryptojacking

A contributor to Forbes calls this the top cybercrime tactic to look for in 2018. It refers to the secret use of your computer to mine cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. The broader threat is that criminals engaging in this activity could compromise legitimate websites and mine your customers’ wallets. This MIT resource provides more detail on how it might happen.

 

Related posts