Yes, I’m afraid everybody is a target. And it mightn’t be personal. It may well be accidental. Perhaps you used the same password in a few places and a site got hacked. Hackers will try use those passwords on lots of other sites to see if they score – and a lot of times they will. The most recent big breach is Quora so make sure you have changed your password there and anywhere else you may have used the same password.
It’s all about money
But that’s not the only way these cyber criminals attack. It’s all about money and quantity. The more they attack they more likely they are to succeed. Here are just a few ways that they can make money from you:
- Accessing your computer to hack other people
- Creating a credit card in your name and sending you the bill
- Hacking your social media accounts and selling them to other criminals
- Gaining access to your shopping accounts through a hacked site’s data (possibly because you used the same login and password)
There are also of course, targeted attacks which can depend on where you work and what you do. In this case, the attackers target specific companies. If you happen to work in that company, you become a target. One of the most common methods of targeted attacks is to use a phishing email. They will use you to get to your co-workers in order to gain access to your company IT systems.
Anti-virus isn’t enough
Anti-virus and malware solutions don’t always work. Not
because they aren’t good, but because the criminals are clever and move faster.
They are always one step ahead. Also, filters don’t detect all phishing emails
and new malware is invented daily. It takes a little time for the protection software
to catch up.
Criminals also use the phone. We’ve all heard how people
have been scammed by the “This is Microsoft calling, you have a virus in your
system” type phone call. Microsoft received over 7,000 victim reports from
customers in more than 15 countries who’ve been scammed by these call centres. Fortunately,
in early December, Microsoft closed
down a number of these fake call centres.
What can you do?
You are your own best defence. Being careful and using common sense is the most important way to prevent being hacked. If you get an email or message (it’s not always email, it could be text, what’s app or an internal message system) that is urgent or suspicious, then don’t open it. Let your IT manager know so that they can ensure it doesn’t spread further.
Related article: How CIOs promote data security awareness in the workplace.
Always be cyber-aware.