Cybercrime is on the increase and according to James Lewis, senior vice president at CSIS, “Cybercrime is relentless, undiminished, and unlikely to stop.” “It is just too easy and too rewarding, and the chances of being caught and punished are perceived as being too low.” Lewis says that poorly-protected IoT devices are of particular concern allowing approaches to steal personal information or gain access to valuable data or networks. Cybercriminals also use botnets to create massive denial-of-service attacks. Consequently, the growth in costs attributed to cybercrime is as a result of cybercriminals embracing new attack technologies, new Internet users coming from countries with weak cybersecurity, and online crime is becoming easier through cybercrime-as-a-service and other business schemes.
Internet security suites can only protect users from potential dangers like spyware, ransomware and malware to a certain extent. Additionally, through social engineering, cybercriminals use human-to-human interaction to get the user to disclose information. This exploitation of human nature and emotional reactions allows attackers to try and trick users both online and offline. What follows are ways to keep yourself safe from these kinds of attacks.
Don’t Open Mail from Strangers
By using a pressing and appealing scenario, usually involving a banking or another online account, cybercriminals use scare tactics to trick users into divulging personal information. The best advice is to never open a phishing email with malware attached since drive-by downloads can install malware on your hard drive without you even agreeing to download. In some cases, it is disguised as a standard system update or another innocent looking “yes / no” question.
Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Frequently
Learn to use strong passwords and do not use birth dates, the names of pets, children or other family members whose details can be garnered from social media platforms. Use a password that is easy to remember, but difficult to decipher by would-be attackers and brute force programs that factually try every combination to guess passwords. An abbreviated sentence is often better than a single word with numbers and symbols inserted. Consider using a password management app to generate and store your passwords. A strong password is one that is unique and complex—at least 15 characters long, mixing letters, numbers and special characters.