The Internet is a wonderful place. It allows you to watch any of the billions of videos that are readily available on platforms like YouTube and Netflix, download interesting and informative eBooks, learn new skills and teach some to others. However, it’s a dangerous place too.
The Following Are The 5 Most Common Online Threats That You Need To Be Aware of Today:
1. Virus and Trojans
Virus and malware are harmful computer programs that can steal your private documents and login credentials, hijack webcam, or cause some other kind of problem. These programs can also be found on mobile platforms and 99% of discovered mobile malware programs are found on third-party app stores!
Trojan Horse or Trojan is a special virus that tricks you into running it by hiding its true nature. For instance, it could be sent to you by an attacker in an email as an attachment that is made to look like it’s a computer game or a productivity program. However, when you click on the file, it installs malicious code on your system.
2. Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are trick emails that try to collect your personal details for frauds and unethical activities. The most common example is the one in which a cybercriminal who masquerades as a representative of your bank sends you an email. They raise an alarm by saying that someone is trying to access your bank account and you should change your account password as soon as possible by clicking the link given in the email. This link is malicious, and if you visit the website that it takes you to and enter your current password for changing, then it sends the same to the attacker who can then access your account and transfer money to theirs.
Phishing emails are an important topic in every beginner’s guide to cybersecurity and you should definitely know about it too. That said, you can easily protect yourself from these emails by being careful with the emails you decide to open.
3. Unexpected Prize & Lottery Scams
Lottery and prize scams are also pretty common on the Internet. The tricksters usually tell you that you have won a prize in a contest or a lottery that you won’t even remember entering into. They ask you to deposit a small fee for insurance purposes, taxes, etc. so that they can send the prize cheque to you. However, if you do that, then you only lose your money for good.
It’s not like there aren’t real lotteries in India. In fact, you can enter a lottery in India even online as there are plenty of legit and popular websites in the casino industry today. However, when you receive an email or message in your instant messenger about winning a ridiculously huge amount in a lottery, then you should verify all the details before going ahead.
Spyware are viruses that are designed to spy on you and are more common than you think. In fact, around 100-150 million PCs on the Internet are under the control of hackers.
Spyware programs can be accidentally installed on your computer/mobile through pirated apps, malicious emails or websites, etc. Once they have infected your system, they can track your online activities, record and share your login credentials for bank accounts, social media accounts, etc. and even interfere with system files and other applications.
Ransomware are easily some of the most dangerous viruses that exist on the Internet. They are relatively new in the virus family but they are extremely difficult to get rid of.
A ransomware program is a malware that is able to bypass your computer’s security measures viz. antivirus programs and firewalls and installs on the system. It can stay dormant for days or weeks to wait for the perfect time to attack. When your computer is most vulnerable, the program activated itself and locks you out of the system. When this happens, then you can’t log in and access your files as the program applies an encryption layer. You are then asked to provide a ransom (hence the term “ransomware”) if you want the key for unlocking your own system.
If you are worried after reading about the online dangers above, then you needn’t. The following are some of the things that you can do to protect yourself:
- Install the best antivirus program you can find on the Internet on your computer and mobile
- Update your applications and system OS as frequently as possible
- Read popular blogs on online security to learn about the new online risks
- Avoid using pirated software programs and visit only those websites that you know of and trust
- Avoid clicking suspicious emails