Ways to Stay Safe from Cyber Crimesby Opinion Express November 19, 2018 0 comments
Incidents of phishing have seen a marked increase in recent years. They are responsible for ransomware and malware attacks. In May last year alone, the Wannacry ransomware attack affected over 2,00,000 computers across 150 countries.
With cyber security issues increasing day by day, safety concerns amongst internet users are also soaring. But worry not, we’ve put together seven simple cyber safety tips that will help you greatly reduce your chances of falling prey to cybercriminals.
Does that email look alarming? Read it again
Punctuated with plenty of typos, exclamation marks, highlights and impersonal greetings such as “Dear Client/Customer” are some of the most easily spottable signs of phishing emails. One thing that you should always keep in mind is that no company or bank would ever ask for your personally identifiable information (PII) via email. This information includes your name, government identification numbers, credentials and other such details.
Targeted phishing, wherein the email sender appears to be a known friend or colleague, are sent by attackers to easily trick their targets. A thumb rule of safety here is to check the sender’s email extension. Furthermore, emails that seem to be too good to be true must be deleted immediately.
Treat file attachments with suspicion
File attachments laden with malware are commonly used in phishing attacks. Cybercriminals often rename Word documents, PDF documents and more. in such a way that they appear legitimate to the victim. Clicking and downloading malicious files can infect your system and compromise your sensitive information such as your internet banking password. It is, therefore, important to stay careful whenever you receive a file, check the sender details and if you find anything fishy, it is best to delete it.
Have a security product and update it regularly
In order to mitigate your exposure to phishing emails, a software with anti-phishing, anti-spam and anti-malware capabilities can prove to be an indispensable tool. Such software can fight against the most complex cyber threats by scanning your system in real-time. Ensure using a reputable internet security software and keep it up-to-date.
A ransomware attack locks your data and demand ransom for its release. So what could be the biggest weapon to defeat ransomware? Certainly, an active and reliable data backup strategy! Regular backup provides easy restoration and helps you start from where you left. Ensure that whatsoever backup medium you use, it is not reachable from the infected machine.
Update your software
When it is time to update software on your computer, you must do it, no matter if it is as frequent as every other day. These updates can significantly reduce the possibility of ransomware attacks. It would be best if you enable automatic software updates on your system.
Pay attention to shortened links
Cyber attackers often trick online users to click on shortened links over social media, emails and other websites. A study found that 78 percent of people were aware of the risks associated with unknown links in emails and yet they click anyway. URL shortening services such as Bitly are used to create these links that look like legitimate ones but divert to malicious websites. It is always a good practice to hover your mouse over the web link in order to see whether it redirects to the correct URL or not.
Free stuff comes at a cost
Most of the download sites that let you to get stuff for free could cost you the other way around. Free stuff such as music files are often laced with adware, spyware and other types of malware that can cause severe damage to your data and privacy. Prefer opting for reliable sources for downloading content even if it means paying a little.
Hotspots leave you vulnerable
Whether it’s an airport or a restaurant, free WiFi hotspots are convenient, but you can be easily attacked. Since there are several users connected to a WiFi hotspot at once, the chances of losing sensitive information are high.
It is shocking to see that the annual number of ransomware attacks worldwide from the year 2014 to 2017 is 184 million. Clearly with time, cyber-attacks are getting more and more sophisticated which makes cyber awareness vital for online users. Be aware and be safe.
Writer: Sanjit Chatterjee
Courtesy: The Pioneer