February 1, 2017
Every year, you hear about database breaches and security flaws that endanger the integrity of your data and anything else that you may have on your computer. Whether you are an individual working out of your own PC or a company with numerous employees working on computers, the threat is generally the same. You will find that even huge businesses that are supposedly at the forefront of technology are also falling victim to these threats.
What threats are we talking about? Here are some of the few that you need to look out for in 2017:
Webcam hacking – this has been around for a while, and has been given a lot of attention when it was pointed out that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tapes his computer’s camera over. While this has been around for a few years, it is still a legitimate threat to your computer’s security. Also called camfecting, this can be used to spy on company meetings, on private individuals, and basically anyone who has a computer with a camera.
How do people hack your camera and how can they make it work even without your knowledge? This usually starts with Trojan software that allows the intruder to operate your camera anytime they want remotely and without alerting the computer owner about it. In order for you to avoid this problem, you can go the low-tech route and tape over your camera (and your microphone as well), or you can disable camera use on your PC. You can also prevent such things from happening by not downloading apps or software that you are not sure of, or by not opening dubious emails.
Ransomware – we have already discussed this problem in a previous post, and while this has also been around for a bit of time, it still poses a great threat to computers and users everywhere. Ransomware is basically software that holds your computer and whatever is in it hostage, and the only way you can get all of these back safely is to pay off the ransom that is being asked of you.
Of course, much like kidnappers and terrorists, getting these back by paying off the attackers only worsens the situation and emboldens them to continue doing this. The only solution to such a problem is to increase your security with the help of more sophisticated firewalls and anti-virus software. It is also advisable to not open emails that you are unsure of and to not use public WiFi systems without using a VPN.
Fake websites – while some people may not think twice about clicking on links that show URLs with popular acronyms like CNN and BBC, you might want to check what comes with these URLs before clicking. A lot phishing sites are now using what is called “typosquatting”, which is the act of imitating a trusted site’s URL but with one or two typos in the URL that can be easily missed. For example, Wikipedia can be misspelled as Wikiepdia, and people may not notice immediately that it is misspelled.
Aside from misspellings, extensions are also used to fool people into clicking on a URL that seems to be part of a trusted site’s pages, but in actuality is not. This can lead to phishing, and is usually done by asking people to log-in or create an account on the site to further access what is in it. These can also be used to inject malware and adware into your PC.
In order to avoid this, you simply need to be careful about clicking on links that seem suspicious. This includes links that may look legit and are posted by friends and family on your social networking pages. Unless you are certain that the link is indeed legit, try not to be swayed by clickbait headlines into clicking on dubious links.