Modern technology offers more opportunities for cyber attacks
Hardly several weeks pass by without a cyberattack being reported. This affects meanwhile public institutions, companies and private persons. The criminals are increasingly refraining, especially on private PCs. The point is not so much that the devices for hackers would be valuable data, such as access to accounts, much more the criminals exploit the fact that many people have saved their lives on the PC. A loss of data represents a major loss for them, which is why the hackers encrypt the devices and release them only against payment.
Attack from the desk
The criminals of today no longer need a crowbar, a desk, a good PC and an internet connection are sufficient. What the modern thief still needs is a lot of time to know how networks work, which is often even obsolete with the right tools. If cyber criminals then find devices that are easily accessible, then it is not far to the crime. Although it is always informed how anyone can build a protection for his PC, still countless users renounce on protective measures such as firewalls or virus scanners. A PC can be attacked in many ways, which now confirms the complexity of the attacks. Criminals use the many different methods and often they act as employees of a well-known IT company to help users with a problem that they allegedly detected via remote diagnostics. In fact, they just want to gain access to the devices, and even the help of their victims.
Tools available for free
Meanwhile, it seems almost to have become a popular hobby, to penetrate into other systems. At least the range of tools that can be used for it is very large. While defensive action can be rapidly developed against common tools, they often do not help those programs that the hackers themselves are developing. The tools and their code are often freely available, so it is possible to extend and modify the code. Already a modified program can cause enormous damage. Especially if it is distributed in relevant circles, rather than on public platforms, where developers of security software are also active, because they frequently test their own security programs with such tools.
The vulnerable points
Networks and operating systems are becoming ever more complex. This is not only because the systems have to do more and more, and security systems often make the software more complex. What should actually provide more security and quality, but also creates problems if there are security holes in the systems. Meanwhile, there are more and more points over which the devices are vulnerable.
One of the most popular methods of attacking a PC are various malicious programs. Malware or adware are steadily increasing and can be distributed through different channels. This can be, for example, a seemingly harmless e-mail, but there is malware in the attachment. Internet sites themselves can also spread malware. Sometimes it’s a harmless looking pop-up, but it does not let you click away. Not infrequently hides behind the downloads but a malicious program. Especially smartphones are now affected, even if the stores are trying to test the tools. However, malware-containing apps keep slipping through the safety net, often collecting and using sensitive data from criminals.
A popular method for cyber attacks is hidden information. Especially in pictures, the so-called steganography is applied. In the process, malware is hidden behind the pixels and can thus be distributed via the most diverse channels. Especially social networks are suitable for the dissemination of such images. Not only do they spread like wildfire, they are also often downloaded and thus malware also lands on the PC.
The testing of the limits of the systems and the deliberate search for errors and weak points are also particularly popular. Not every user is so fair and reports such errors to the manufacturer of the software, many of these weaknesses. It’s not just about giving yourself an advantage, for example, to get to your goal faster in games, the vulnerabilities are deliberately used to blackmail companies. No system is perfect and how flawed software can be, users notice at the latest on the many security updates, which are often closed just such gaps. It often takes months to close all security holes in a system, but it is used by countless users and of course vulnerable.
There are many ways to protect yourself from cyber attack or at least make it very difficult for criminals. Software such as virus scanner and firewall should now be standard for each device. Similar tools are also available for smartphones. Above all, tools that can be used to monitor which apps are accessing which information or which apps transmit data over the Internet should also be installed on smartphones.
Of course every user is required to keep their eyes open. If a picture has more than 6 MB, then caution is advised, as from 4 MB users should be skeptical. Behind very large image files often hide more information and sometimes malicious software. Therefore, such images should not even be downloaded to the PC or deleted immediately.
Users can also protect themselves against cyber attacks by regularly updating their software. The updates close dangerous security holes. This also applies to firmware updates and routers.