What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity works on the same principle as offline security, that is, it aims to protect users and their computer systems. In the real world, you can install video intercoms and locks on all your windows, but on the Internet, it’s not that simple. Internet scammers can gain access to your information in a variety of ways. They can even convince you quite deliberately to send them data simply because you don’t realize you’re being scammed. The Internet is a dangerous space, especially if you are out there alone, so you need confidence in your own safety.
What do cybersecurity measures protect against?
Cybercriminals are motivated by lust for profit, and there are hundreds of different ways to make you part with your money. In some cases, criminals target your bank account, and sometimes they try to get your identity. In some truly frightening situations, cybercriminals can gain full access to your computer as if they were right in your home.
Types of cyber attacks
Here are the most common types of cyberattacks you should know about:
Malware is dangerous software that criminals intentionally install on your computer. These programs often infiltrate computers under the guise of innocuous email attachments or by clicking a fake button on websites, allowing them to bypass network security systems. Malware can transmit your personal data (if it’s a spyware), install other malware on your device, or simply disable your operating system. To protect your computer, you should only download files that you are sure are safe.
Blackmail programs are a type of malware that encrypt all of your files. You will never know that you are downloading a blackmailer program. It often arrives in your inbox as a harmless file from a seemingly harmless sender. Once you open the program, your files become inaccessible, and you’ll have to pay a ransom to regain control of them. Chances are, after paying, you’ll only lose your money, and your only wish will be to turn back the clock.
Phishing is a type of fraud in which a criminal impersonates a trustworthy counterparty. A phishing attack can look like an email, a social media message, or even a phone call. You receive a message, often ostensibly from an employee of your bank, asking you to verify your information, provide a credit card number or make a money transfer. Criminals will then use that information to gain unauthorized access to your accounts. Sometimes phishing emails try to mislead you by asking you to click a certain link or provide your bank account details to protect your account from the scammers. Never respond to these types of requests. Information security is a top priority for banks, so they definitely won’t ask for information via email. If you are concerned about such a message, ignore it, but call the bank to find out if it is genuine.
Denial of Service (DDoS) attack
A DDoS attack means that your network or server cannot handle the intensity of Internet traffic. This amount of traffic exceeds the bandwidth of your network and you cannot use it for its intended purpose. This type of attack most often targets the websites of businesses and organizations. The ultimate goal of such attacks is not always your money (at least for fraudsters); it may be to deprive you of customers and visitors. It’s essentially the same thing as online picketing. To be fair, DDoS attacks have also been used for good, such as to block access to the sites of hate groups and prevent them from gaining popularity online.
An intermediary attack
In this type of attack, the attacker relays messages between you and the other party, pretending to be you or the person you are communicating with. For example, if you are talking to a friend and want your money back, you send them your account number. Your friend sees the message and transfers the money to the account. You see the message that your friend has made the payment. Neither you nor your friend has any evidence that a scammer is operating between you, as he is impersonating both of you. However, you will never receive the money because the scammer has replaced your message and account number with his or her own data. Identity theft can go on for days or even weeks before you realize it’s not clean.