May 19, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today


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Hacking Attacks Both Companies and Individuals, But You Can Fight Back

Big companies make big targets, so many people think that hackers are far more likely to be interested in hacking into corporations rather than individuals to secure valuable information or funds. Those companies expect to be attacked, thereby making their security more resilient to hackers’ approaches. While that may create an element of challenge that appeals to the more daring and audacious hackers, most of the 4.2 billion regular people who use the internet are more suitable targets due to the speed and ease with which they can be hacked.

Hacking is so intangible that many people don’t give it a moment’s thought, or if they do, then they merely dismiss it with the belief that it will never happen to them. If it does happen, the damage can be irreversible. Taking effective security measures to protect essential details is imperative for all users of the internet. Especially with the worries that with the USA ending net neutrality could allow data collected by ISPs to be hacked or leaked, it is more important than ever to take precautions in safeguarding information.

No security is impregnable to all hackers, but it will likely deter the average hacker, most of whom are searching for an easy target. Having some form of defense will automatically make your data less desirable than the information of someone whose lack of protection is essentially keeping the door open for a hacker to walk through.

Identity theft is the main reason a hacker would wish to infiltrate a person’s computer. By obtaining social security numbers and credit card details, somebody can exploit an unwitting individual’s data to create fake identification or make unauthorized purchases. Such a breach is not always immediately evident, because hackers are conscious that large expenses on a credit card statement stand out. Instead, a hacker can use this information over a protracted period to chip away at someone’s finances.

What You Can Do to Avoid Getting Hacked

Using antivirus software and reliable internet browsers can help to keep your surfing in safe waters, although the user still should remain conscious of what sites to use and what information to input. It can be easy to click on a link that at first glance appears harmless, but users should take the time to guarantee its integrity.

Anything that requires the entry of personal and financial details should be scrutinized, particularly on gaming and retail sites. For this reason, it’s important to seek out commitments to fairness, security, and transparency, with the most visible safeguard a website’s protocol. Sites with https:// before their URL are secured with Transfer Layer Security (TLS), a more advanced version of the popular Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. Websites also typically have a Cookies Policy, Privacy Policy, and Advertising Policy that should be located in an easy-to-reach place (such as the footer of the homepage).

In gaming circles, applications like Steam are secured with two-factor authentication (2FA), an extra security step that requires a second device; usually, a mobile phone. Valve’s platform restricts access to certain parts of its website to users who do not have 2FA set up, such as the player marketplace. Similarly, providers of real-money casino games like slots are required to have a test certificate to reassure players that the RTP (Return to Player) remains constant. Players should check for this certificate before depositing funds to be certain that the game is fair and the house edge is not being manipulated.

eCommerce websites are another one of the primary targets for hackers, so it is vital to make sure that any sales link that is remotely suspicious remains unclicked. Pop-ups may claim to be offering a stunning bargain that is perfectly tailored to your interests, but in reality, it is just a hacking attempt. It is wise to be wary of such an offer.

Having an ad blocker extension installed on your browser can help to minimize those distractions, although care should still be taken when clicking any suspicious links riddled with typos. Pop-ups for fake antivirus software, known as extortionware, can pester individuals to subscribe to what may appear to be a defensive tool but is a trap for the acquisition of credit card details.

It is advisable to purchase protection from a reputable source rather than a pop-up message. Companies like McAfee and Norton offer renowned antivirus software via subscription, while Kaspersky and Bitdefender also present free streamlined versions of their premium service for those on a budget. It is prudent to invest in antivirus software when considering the value of the details that are at stake, while a subscription service ensures that your protection has a better chance of remaining resilient to new forms of virus and malware.

Navigating the Most Dangerous Places on the Internet

PC World has compiled a list of 17 of the most dangerous places on the internet, with many of these malware threats able to be navigated with an effective antivirus program. However, steps should be taken to add extra layers of defense.

Passwords should be changed regularly, utilizing a mixture of letters, numbers, and punctuation to create a word or phrase with no personal meaning. Ensuring that you use websites with two-factor authentication can provide an extra degree of comfort, while using a VPN masks your IP address and makes it harder for hackers to access your data.

Using as many forms of security as possible is advisable but even taking one step towards safeguarding your online data can make a huge difference. While you may think that your data is inconsequential compared to a big company’s and therefore not worth stealing, a hacker might think otherwise.

Picture of By Alex Moersen

By Alex Moersen

Alex Moersen is an Associate Editor for Innovation & Tech Today, covering pop culture, science and tech, sustainability, and more. Twitter: @yaboii_shanoo

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