You probably think that you’re a home user with a small bank account, why would hackers have any interest in you, right?
In the past, that might have been right, but today as hacking technologies become more sophisticated, hackers are out there to catch every little fish they can.
Even if you’re a smart user, remember you’re up against a world full of evil geniuses when you’re online.
While you think you’re a small target, to hackers, you’re an easy target. They don’t have to penetrate through strict security protocols and sophisticated corporate firewalls to break into your system.
And if you don’t use premium antivirus protection, that just adds icing to the cake. What more could the hackers ask for?
You can check out our detailed analysis here to learn how a premium antivirus will protect you through a multi-layered approach.
But you should also know that hackers have countless ways up their sleeve that they can use to trick you into believing you’re going for something legit online, but you’ll be walking right into the middle of a hacking trap.
But don’t just take our word for it, let us show you how it’s done.
Credits : Pixabay
Legit-looking Personal Emails
Hackers send you targeted emails that look incredibly legit and even personal. These phishing emails may call you by your name, may even contain your professional title or mention a project you’re working on.
With everybody’s professional information easily accessible on social media forums, anyone can use it to their benefit. The email would usually contain an “important” link in the context of the email. Once you click the link, several things can happen.
The link might download malicious software onto your system that would open a back door for the hackers to get to your information. It can encrypt your files and folders. Or it can track your keystrokes to record your personal information.
So, here’s what you can do to avoid being a victim to such phishing scams. For starters, never act at once when you receive an email that requires you to share personal information or click on a link unless you’re hundred percent sure that the email is from a legitimate contact of yours.
Always double-check the sender’s information and the message for suspicious elements such as the text body that’s actually an image. If there’s a link, hover your cursor over it to see the original URL address.
If you find the link contains HTTP protocol instead of HTTPS, you should immediately know that the link is unsafe. Besides, no professional organization would share such links.
You can also check the link for weird spellings, for instance, if it’s Amaz0n, instead of Amazon, you can be sure it’s a fake link.
Drive-by Downloads You Better Watch Out for
This is another form of phishing that hackers simply love to use. You’ll visit a website that is seemingly perfectly harmless, unaware what’s going on in the background.
While you don’t know, you’re being redirected to a series of other websites that send malicious attacks your way. The catch is that the actual website doesn’t have to be fake for this hacking technique. In almost all cases, even the owner of the website is unaware that the site is compromised.
But there’s a way to avoid these attacks. Make sure that all the latest updates for your browser are in place. It’s better to use a browser that automatically updates itself like Google Chrome.
But while Chrome automatically updates, it doesn’t automatically restart your computer to apply the updates. That’s why it’s a good idea to restart your system every now and then so the automatic updates can come into action.
Attention-grabbing Video Titles
So, this one’s becoming really common these days, especially now that everybody’s running out of their entertainment options being confined to their homes.
You’re casually browsing your Facebook; you land on a video post from a friend titled “Unbelievable Creature Spotted in Africa.” When you click on it, it might ask you to download a media player to run the video or to take a survey.
If that happens, never go ahead with the link as it will install malware on your computer and even share the video further with all your friends as well.
The video probably only contains smudged photoshopped images of a grizzly bear anyway. But if you can’t curb your curiosity, type the title of the video into Google search and see if it’s on YouTube. If it’s a scam, it’s probably already been reported and taken off YouTube.
Giving Away your Password on “Easy” Sites
Most of us use the same password for multiple accounts. Hackers use this fact against us. They would track you on sites that don’t use strict security protocols, such as readers or travel forums. On these sites, hackers can easily obtain your email address and password information.
Then they’ll use the same password to access your email account. If you have any emails from your bank, they’ll go to your bank account and try the password there as well. So it’s a very vicious cycle that starts all too easily.
What can you do? Well, you guessed it right. Use different passwords for every site and always use two-factor authentication where possible.
This feature adds additional security and uses an audio call or SMS code to verify that it’s actually you who’s trying to log into your account.
The “Free” Offer that comes back to Haunt You
This one has taken too many internet users down the drain with it. The lure is just too big with free versions of popular apps that otherwise charge you a few bucks to download.
Hackers thrive on free and fake downloads. You’ll download a legit software, but it will be a fake, malicious software or it will come with an additional tag-along app that will be malicious.
In either case, now your system and data are at the mercy of the hacker. These apps can easily steal or encrypt your confidential information.
For instance, you downloaded a game, and when it asked for different sorts of access, you hit yes, yes, yes for everything. The next thing you know, you’re receiving premium SMS messages and spending the money you wanted for keeps in the first place.
But you can easily prevent such attacks by always downloading your apps on official sites. Also, check how many people have installed it already and how they have reviewed the app.
It helps to check out the reviews as hackers can put up fake ratings, but they can’t stop users from posting reviews.
Also make sure to always download your apps from an official app marketplace such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store, since most fake apps have to be downloaded directly off a website.
Undesirable Software Update Notifications
Every security expert tells you always to update your software for better protection. But what do you know, hackers also turn that into a vulnerability by sending fake software notifications to your screen.
The moment you click on the popup message, it installs malicious software on your computer. Now, these pop ups will look real, but a good way to check if they are genuine is by closing the browser window that’s currently open. If the message disappears, you’ll know it’s a fake.
In any case, always check your software provider’s official website for updates before you go ahead with any such notification.
Fake “Free” Offers that Cost Big Time
There’s a lot of fake and free in there, and you may wonder who’d fall for that. But millions of people do every day. That’s why these scams are still hot.
People easily get attracted by a limited-time free offer for an amazing weight-loss pill that only charges you for shipping and handling, say, at $4.95.
What you don’t know is when you agreed to the terms and conditions while paying the shipping fee, you actually agreed to pay a big sum of money possibly every month.
Hackers know that people never read all the fine print in detail, and even if they do, they only scan for numbers. That’s why they spell out the amount without any dollar signs.
For instance, the print would say seventy-five dollars and forty-nine cents plus four dollars and ninety-five cents shipping and handling, once the free trial period ends.
You’re in for a big shock when the next bank statement comes. That’s why always read the fine print carefully if you come across any such offers. Don’t believe any testimonials; they can be easily faked.
You can also use a search engine called TinEye.com that hunts the web for identical images. If the same person comes up too many times, you should know it’s a fake account and a fake testimonial.
Reputable companies allow you to cancel a subscription or negotiate a refund, but that’s not the case with a fraudulent company. In that case, you’ll have to cancel your credit card to stop the monthly payments.
The Evil Hotspot
When you are out at a coffee shop or a mall, you might need to use public WiFi. But there are multiple hotspots with the same café or mall name. Which one is real?
It can be difficult to know the real thing from the fake ones. Imposter hotspots are everywhere, and they can be very lucrative for hackers. They set up fake hotspots to mine your computer for credit details as well as password information.
Hackers even duplicate official websites of well-known WiFi providers like AT&T and Verizon. While you think you’re connecting to safe WiFi, it could very easily be a fake connection which is programmed to send your information to the hacker’s laptop.
The first thing you need to do to prevent these hacking attacks is to turn off the connection to non preferred networks when they’re in range.
It is even better to turn off your WiFi as soon as you leave home so that you don’t connect to a malicious hotspot unknowingly.
You can also buy your own WiFi through Visa or Master gift cards for airports or just use your mobile internet wherever you can. This way, you’ll have no fear of broadcasting your financial or personal information, and you can safely carry out online transactions.
So now you know that hackers will use every opportunity and every available trick to entrap you. But it is up to you to keep your eyes open while you’re online and recognize the legit things from the fake ones.
In the end, we’ll leave you with a last bit of advice and recommend you never to check the box that says “Remember me” when you log in to an online account, especially on e-commerce sites. It only takes a moment to type in that information, so better not to leave your account access open to hackers.