Cybersecurity is always vital to anyone who spends time online. Whether you browse the internet on your phone at home or use a computer at work, you need to keep yourself safe from viruses and attacks. If you're not sure how to maintain your cybersecurity, we would like to talk about some common ways people attack computers and the steps you can take to keep yourself safe. Common Cyberattack Methods First, we want to talk about some of the most common ways hackers and other malicious people will attack your computer. If you understand where these attacks come from, then you can avoid any damages to your computer. So let's discuss them so you can understand what types of attacks you should be weary of as you spend some time online. Emails Email is a common channel that hackers will use totry and scam you or steal your personal information. They will either ask you for banking information and to send them money or they will include a link that will send you to a malicious website. So if you see an email that you don't recognize, you should delete it or send it to your Spam folder. Keep in mind that some people will try and impersonate businesses to trick you into giving them personal information. For example, some people will pretend to be PayPal and steal your money, so always check the legitimacy of an email before clicking on it. This way, you can avoid the risks in the first place.
Phone Calls Some scammers have begun using phone calls as a way to scam people. Some scammers will pretend to be the IRS, Microsoft or other large organizations so they can convince you to give them your personal information. For example, IRS scammers will scare you into giving them money and bank information under the ploy that you'll be arrested. If someone calls you and claims to be a company like this, then you should ignore it. Remember that the IRS will only contact you through the mail and Microsoft isn't going to call you over a virus. If you think the call might be real, then you should hang up, call the official customer service number for the company and talk with them to confirm its legitimacy. Suspicious Websites You should also stay away from suspicious websites that you don't recognize or trust. For example, you could look for something on a search engine, but you should be weary of some of the links you may come across. If you don't recognize the website or it sound suspicious to you, then you shouldn't click on that link. Remember that suspicious websites can send viruses to your computer the second you click on them. Also, you should keep in mind that some websites will include ads on the side that will send you to suspicious websites. If you want to stay away from dangerous ads, then you should avoid clicking on any of the ads you come across. Scareware Scareware is a common type of pop-up designed to trick you into handing over your internet security to someone else or downloading a virus. This usually happens after you visit a suspicious website, but it can happen under other circumstances. In short, the pop-up will claim that you have a virus on your computer and you can only remove it by calling a number or downloading something. If you get a pop-up like this, then you should close it immediately. If you can't close it, then you can hold down the Control, Alt and Delete keys at once to open the Task Manager. From here, you can force the browser to close. If you get a pop-up like this, then you should close it and ignore it, because they're trying to scare you into getting a virus.
Hyperlinks As you visit different websites, forums or other locations, then you may come across a hyperlink. Hyperlinks are clickable text on a website that will send you to a new website. However, some people will post hyperlinks that will send you to suspicious websites that could then infect your computer with a virus. Hyperlinks are pretty straightforward to keep yourself safe: if you don't recognize the website, then you shouldn't click on the hyperlink. Even if you see it in your social media feeds or on a forum, you shouldn't click on a link you don't trust or recognize. Otherwise, you could end up with a virus on your computer. Downloads Keep in mind that some viruses may hide in the form of downloads. Some websites may entice you into clicking on certain downloads so you can install them onto your computer. However, if you do so and try to run the executable file (the .EXE file), then you could end up with a virus on your computer. If you want to avoid these types of viruses, then you should avoid downloading them onto your computer. Only download from sources you trust so you don't have to worry about these types of viruses. If you need to download a video chat app for your work, then you should get it from the official website. Otherwise, you shouldn't download things you don't recognize. Social Media Hacks Some hackers will hack into your friends' social media accounts to try and trick you into giving them your personal information. For example, you may get a message from one of your friends with a link that's trying to convince you to click on it. If you click on the link, it will present a fake sign-in page for the social media website which will steal your sign-in details if you put it in. If you get a link from a friend that seems weird, then you should contact that friend through a phone call to see if it's real. So if a link from a friend asks you to type in your login information, then you should close it immediately. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing your social media account to a hacker. Keeping Yourself Safe Now that we talked about some of the common cyberattacks you can come across online, we also want to point out some of the ways you can keep yourself safe. These safety measures will help you to create some protection to avoid viruses and hacks in the first place. So make sure you look through these seven tips so you can keep your data and computer secured.
Talk With an IT Expert If you don't know what to do to keep your computer safe from cyberattacks, then you should contact a trusted IT partner. They can discuss the risks with you and help you understand what you need to do to remain safe whenever you go online. After all, they focus on using the internet safely and effectively, so they can help you out. Remember that these IT partners focus all of their efforts on helping people with their online struggles, so you can ask them for help. This way, you can ensure that you will find the best cybersecurity available to keep yourself safe online. After all, there's no need to take any risks if you don't have to. Install Virus Protection Software Cyberattacks can sometimes get through despite our best efforts, so it's nice to have a software designed to keep you safe. You have multiple virus protection options available online that you can choose between. Make sure to spend some time looking through the different protection software to find something you like. As you purchase a virus protection software, you should ensure that the software can stop viruses before they attack your computer and scan for viruses. The virus scan feature allows the software to search your entire computer for malicious files and viruses. With this in mind, virus protection stands out as an excellent layer of defense for your computer. Use a Website Security Scanner You can get a website security scanner for your browser as a way to keep yourself safe. Once you look something up on a search engine, these scanners will put a checkmark next to the different links to let you know that they're safe. If you see a yellow question mark, then the site is questionable and a red x indicates that it's dangerous. These scanners work well for people that struggle to identify safe and questionable websites. All you have to do is look for the green checkmark before you click on any of the links. This way, don't need to check for questionable websites and you can safely use a search engine as you look towards the security scanner. Create a Backup for Your Computer It never hurts to create a backup for your computer. Some computers will include a system restore feature that allows you to return your computer to a previous state. This way, if you have a virus or other problems, you can return your computer to that previous state as a way to protect your files if you face any cyberattacks. Keep in mind that your computer will need to have this function and you will need to set it up ahead of time. If you don't create a backup state, then you won't be able to return to it. You should also backup your important files to an external hard drive so you can keep them safe. Either way, it's important to backup your computer if possible.
Don't Click On Links You Don't Trust At the end of the day, you should never click on a link that you don't trust. While you can use secure searches on links in search engines, you can't guarantee that links on websites or your social media accounts will be safe. This means that a single click could cause you problems and lead to a potential cyberattack that could permanently damage your computer. In short, if you see a link and you don't know what it does, then you shouldn't click on it. You never want to ruin your computer or face a load of problems due to a single click, so avoid those links if possible. Even if you see enticing "clickbait" articles or links, you should still avoid clicking on them if you don't trust them. Create Desktop Shortcuts Some people aren't as tech-savvy as others, so they may struggle when it comes to different links or other potential dangers. If this is the case for you or others, then you can create desktop shortcuts for different webpages. This way, instead of using the internet, those people can just click on the desktop shortcuts. For example, if you know someone that just uses their computer for email and social media, then you can create desktop shortcuts that go directly to those pages. Doing so will ensure that the person just has to click on those icons to go straight to the page that they want. In short, it removes the risk of cyberattacks by sticking to trusted websites. When In Doubt, Avoid the Source If you don't know if you can trust a source, then you should doubt it. If you click on the wrong link or go to the wrong website, then you could create some permanent issues for your computer. Due to this, it's better to doubt the source and not click on it if you think it might be unsafe. There's no harm in doubting a link, even if it was sent by someone that you normally trust. After all, you must keep yourself safe on the internet, so you should do everything you can to avoid cyberattacks. This way, you can reduce the risks for yourself and strive to be comfortable and happy while online. Conclusion Remember that these tips and common cyberattack methods aren't designed to freak you out or make you afraid of the internet. They are simply protective measures to help you remain safe whenever you want to go online. Make sure to remember these points so you can enjoy the benefits of the internet while minimizing any of the potential risks that come with the territory.
Read more at Woods LLP