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Cyber-Attacks are on the Rise Worldwide- How Internet Users Can Protect their Data?

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In today’s technological revolution, our world is facing a new challenge that can affect all of us. It happens now, more often than ever, to hear about cybersecurity dangers, data breaches, and threats to our connected devices.

Cyber-attacks can come in many forms, from cyber-crime, cyber espionage, hacktivist to cyber warfare.  According to a study conducted by Norwich University, 89% of breaches in 2016 had a financial or espionage motive behind them.

Who can be targeted by cyber criminals and become a potential victim? The answer is everyone who is using the internet and is part of the online world. The rapid digitization of consumers’ lives and enterprise is the primary reason behind the rise of cyber threats.

What is a cyber-Attack?

A cyber-attack is a strike against a computer system, network, or internet-enabled application or device with the purpose of gaining access or disabling operations. The most common types of cyber-attacks include malware, phishing, denial of service attack, SQL injection, and zero-day exploit.

Cyber attackers use a multitude of tools to hack those systems including malware, ransomware, exploit kits, and many other methods. Hackers often operate with the cyber-attack method called ransomware and by creating malicious code, known as malware, and distribute it into the system through spam email campaigns or phishing campaigns.

While a cyber-attack can rarely target an individual, enterprises from all sectors are the most targeted by hackers. Thus, the data of internet users are still in danger to be exposed by hackers because most of today’s businesses connect with their consumers in the online world. What is truly worrying is the fact that enterprises often fail to protect their consumer data because they are not effectively protected against cyber-attacks.

So, with malicious companies and enterprising hackers on the rise, how can we keep our devices and data secure online? The good news is that the situation is not completely hopeless and that you do have control over your data if you take some precarious steps.  Here’s how to improve your privacy online:

Don’t become a victim of identity theft

Online fraudsters will try to gather as much information about you as possible and use it to pose as your persona. The worst scenario that will indeed affect you is if the hacker will access your bank accounts and steal all your money without you even realizing it before it is too late.

Identity theft can certainly affect you and leave you in bankruptcy. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself from it. First of all, under no circumstance, you should give your Social Security number to people that either call you, email you, or message you. no matter how legitimate an email might look like or how trustworthy a person may seem. Secondly, avoid posting private data, including date of birth, on websites such as social media accounts.

Keep main email address and phone number private

There are many websites and services online that require your mobile phone and email address even only to be able to see the content of the page. If you choose to do it, you should know that this is exactly how you end up getting tons of spam in your e-mail inbox and hundreds of nuisance robocalls on your phone. Sometimes you can’t avoid sharing this information with internet services and online stores, but for those where you have a choice, it is better to choose not to.  To avoid becoming the victim of marketers and even hackers in case of a cyber-attacks, you should consider creating a separate e-mail address and have an additional phone number for these cases.

If, however, your phone number gets exposed and you become the victim of unwanted and spam calls, trapping the caller is the best way to unmask the caller. Performing a reverse phone lookup is the best solution to find out who is calling you. All you have to do is to search the number and get all the relevant information associated with it such as social media accounts, address history, map location, and even more.

Enable the two-factor authentication feature on social media accounts

Social media accounts are some of the most targeted online services by hackers because of the huge amounts of data they contain about their users. Choosing a strong password that includes small letters, capital letters, numbers, and distinctive signs might help you protect from getting hacked. However, hackers are getting smarter and create new tools and methods for cyber-attacks.

Thus, you should use all the protection tools you have available to avoid becoming a victim of the hackers. To add an extra layer of protection, you should consider enabling the two-factor authentication. This security method requires you to add both your password and will send you a code via a text message to your phone and ask you to introduce it in order to log in.

Optimize your passwords

For every single account that you create in the online world, whether it is for social media accounts or on an online movie website, you are required to set up a password for the account.  While before cyber-attacks were not so often and people used to have very simple four-letter or-number passwords, well now times have changed. Thus, having weak and simple passwords for your online accounts is a sure-fire way that you will have your accounts hacked. The best way to protect your accounts, regardless of which service, is to use different passwords for everything and avoid using personal data about you that can be easily guessed such as birthdays or pet names.

Always update cookies

Websites use cookies to gather and store information about your browsing history. This gives the website the ability to analyze your behavior online so that they can display promotional ads of products and services personalized according to the data they have about you. Yet, the worst aspect about the use of cookies is that websites usually sell the analysis to a third party which are often businesses and organizations. If you slightly tweak your settings to get alerted in case a cookie is installed on your computer or device, you will be able to know exactly who is reading your online activity.

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