Is Your Online Activity as Safe as You Think?

More than 5 billion people rely on the internet every day as a means of communication, entertainment, and for business transactions. The internet has allowed anyone to become involved in day trading or speculating on which crypto will blow up next.

 

Need an emergency plumber? Go online. Want to know how to bake bread? Go online. Want to take out a new credit card? Go online. So much of everyday life from waking up to going to sleep is spent online that it is easy to become blase about the websites you are using and what data you might be sharing.

 

Are the websites and apps you use safe, or should you be concerned about the information that you are sending across the web?

 

Why would your internet activity be unsafe?

You would have to be a complete novice to the internet not to have heard of cybercrime and hackers, so you are likely already aware of some of the risks to be had online. Businesses are well aware of these risks, which is why they put robust security measures in place, such as implementing privilege access managementThings like this ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data and admin functions.

Putting in place the best cyber security solutions is vital for any business, but individuals operating from home are no less at risk.

 

Covid saw surges in the use of the internet in different areas. At the start of the pandemic, nearly 49 million Americans reported that they had been working at home due to lockdowns and restrictions. This meant security concerns as employees had to access business networks from their own homes.

 

There was also a swell in popularity for online shopping, streaming entertainment, and gaming. Suddenly, there was a heavy increase in the use of VPNs for playing poker, or watching shows on Hulu or Disney Plus.

 

March 2020, saw a 124% rise in VPNs being used to create a safer online experience. And the FBI warned of a spike in cybercrime activity at the same time.

 

What are the most likely threats to occur online?

You could be the target of a cyber attack and never actually know it. There are over 2,000 attacks of varying natures each day and this equates to something like one cyber attack every 40 seconds. However, the majority of targeted cyber crimes start with a simple email.

 

Phishing emails are very common, with around 3.4 billion of these scam messages sent out to individuals and businesses every single day. Other common attacks are based around usernames and passwords. You can visit the Have I Been Pwned website to see if your passwords have been jeopardized in any data breaches.

 

Just last year, a hacker stole $97 million from the crypto exchange, Liquid. Previous beliefs about the safety of cryptocurrencies have been proven wrong on many occasions as exchanges have been hacked and wallets raided.

 

Other methods cyber criminals use are these:

 

     Man in the middle attacks

     Spyware

     Keylogging

     Viruses and trojans

     Malware

     Ransomware

     Extortionware

     Data breaches

     Phishing emails

     Online scams

 

Some online threats don’t involve hackers but can still damage businesses. Marketing fraud is on the rise as digital campaigns become more commonplace, and budgets grow. Marketing professionals are being targeted by online fraudsters now by promising to assist in their campaigns.

 

Digital marketing strategies are vital to modern business now, but they are difficult to track through different regions. A VPN can assist with ad verification by allowing the marketer to change location and view geo-blocked content including their own adverts.

 

How can you make your time online safer?

Antivirus and malware protection should be installed as standard on any device that accesses the internet. Ignore any emails that appear suspicious. And use a VPN or proxy for internet access.

 

Proxies and VPNs can help to hide your IP address and location. They will keep your identity secret unless you openly reveal it yourself online, and in some cases, this can make you not only safe online but in the real world too.

 

In July last year, a 60-year-old Tennessee man became the latest victim of online swatting. This is a dangerous type of online attack that involves sending armed police to someone’s physical location.

 

It is made possible by tracing the IP address and finding the location of another user online. A VPN makes this impossible. Cybercriminals are using extortion more online against businesses and individuals too. In this type of attack, the criminal will try to harvest as much information about the victim as possible.

 

Another way to protect yourself and your business is to install a password vault. Most data breaches and hacks are caused through the use of over simplistic passwords, and repeated use of passwords across multiple systems and platforms.

 

Summary

Employees, employers, and individuals using mobile devices to access the net all need to be educated more in cyber security. Many hacks and data breaches are not as sophisticated as you may believe.

 

Typically, an individual simply gives away too much information online, and a hacker can use this to gain access to an email account or social media. From here it could be possible to find bank account details or messages with sensitive data.

 

However, other online threats can be avoided by using VPNs, firewalls, and other security apps that are designed to protect your data, and your identity.

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