How to protect yourself from cyber attacks

How to protect yourself from cyber attacks

The number of crimes on the Internet and cyber attacks on users' computers grows with each new year, but in most cases, hackers use already known methods of hacking from which there are ways to protect. How can I protect myself from cyberattacks?

The most popular types of cyberattacks and methods of protection

A cyberattack is a deliberate way of stealing to compromise or disrupt an operating system, with the goal of both incapacitating a PC and stealing data. We can divide cyberattacks into three types:

  • Harmless (relatively). These are attacks that do not cause any damage to the computer. This may be the introduction of spyware to gather information or other programs. The point is that the person will not know that the computer is infected.
  • Malicious. These are those cyberattacks whose actions are aimed at disrupting both computers and computer systems. Virus software in the vast majority of cases tries in every way to sabotage the PC, that is, to destroy data, encrypt them, break the OS, reboot computers, etc. The end result is extortion and loss of both revenue and time.
  • Cyberterrorism. The most dangerous type of cyber attacks in which the victims are utilities and government services. These attacks are aimed at certain structures, whose malfunctions can weaken or destroy the infrastructure of the state.

Viruses and ransomware

In most cases, a virus for the PC is called any software if it brings to the computer and its owner. In most cases, a virus can appear to a person after he opens a file sent by mail, follows a link to an unprotected site, or does other similar actions.

Ransomware viruses are special viruses that can, if infected, encrypt, block or modify important system and user sites. At the same time, it is possible to unblock the virus and reset its actions after entering a password or after installing a cure. But since the virus is a ransomware, the user will be able to cope with it (if there is no other way) only after a money transfer.

To protect yourself from such viruses is very simple - it is necessary to have an antivirus on your computer, not to follow unfamiliar links and not to download suspicious files.

PUP or potentially unwanted program

PUP or potentially unwanted software are spyware, trojans and adware viruses. In most cases all of these are installed in one form or another along with a useful program downloaded by the user.

PUP software has many features, from recording keystrokes and scanning files to scanning data and reading cookies.

To protect against such threats, the user is advised not to install or download browser applications and extensions, especially if the software is located on an untrusted web resource. It is also important to check for hidden checkboxes and use advanced installation options when installing any program.

Phishing

Phishing is one of the methods of hacking that uses emails. It is a rather old method, in which people try to deceive the user and, by means of trickery or requests, get from him the login and password data for sites or services. Phishing emails can be as simple as this, or presented in the form of an official appeal from a bank or from an acquaintance.

Protection is also simple - it is enough not to give anyone the login and password data from anything at all and to install an email protection program to check for spam emails. You can also, where possible, install multi-factor authentication (in which after entering the login/password you have to enter a code, a secret word, or a number received by SMS).

Account hacking

Hackers can gain full access to any person's account, especially when using a "frontal attack" in which special software simply goes through all sorts of username/password pairs.
Since this kind of work is done by the software, you need to set up an account lockout after a certain number of incorrectly entered passwords. And you can also use robot protection, i.e. the reCAPTCHA system.

Outdated or not updated software

And this is an eternal problem: many hackers exploit any existing vulnerabilities in both web applications and system programs in order to get data or introduce viruses into someone else's computer. As an example, you can think of Equifax, which had the Apache Struts web framework.

It was not updated in time, which caused 143 million Social Security numbers (which, for a moment, is a taxpayer identification number, like our TIN) to be stolen. Address, credit card and driver's license information was also stolen. And all because the security software was not updated in time.

To avoid becoming a victim of hackers, you should update your security software or download a program focused on finding vulnerabilities in other programs and in the operating system in general.

DDoS attack

DDoS is a common type of cyber attack today in which a specific resource (resource server) is sent a huge number of requests in a small amount of time. As a result, the server cannot cope with so many incoming requests, so it starts to slow down and shut down heavily. Hackers for a good DDoS attack use special zombie computers, united for the maximum number of requests into a botnet.

Strategy to defend against cyber attacks

Here are some important tips to minimize the chances of a cyberattack:

  1. Always have an antivirus program and firewall running on your computer.
  2. Software and the operating system should be updated as official updates become available.
  3. If an e-mail from a stranger arrives and the e-mail has attached files, do not open them.
  4. If the Internet source is unknown, it is not recommended to download or copy a program from it, and you definitely shouldn't run this program.
  5. Setting passwords to any Internet resources, you should make them at least 8 characters, and they should be upper and lower case letters, as well as punctuation marks and numbers.
  6. It is not necessary to use a single password, even a complex one, for all sites.
  7. Reliable companies and sites differ from fraudulent ones in the presence of encrypted pages with an address of the form https....
  8. If your computer or phone was connected to Wi-Fi without a password, you should not access any Internet resources.
  9. All important files and documents should be copied in a safe and inaccessible to others, where there is no connection to the Internet.

All these are trivial and simple, but very effective tips that you should apply today.

Instead of a conclusion

Almost all computer vulnerabilities are created by users themselves, so the only thing to do is to stick to simple rules of data security on the Internet and update your anti-virus software.

Sure, ordinary users' computers are not targets for hackers (banking and government resources with data from millions of users are), but that doesn't mean a cybercriminal won't want to take them down.