After the numerous 2014 hacks that finally shed light on the issue of cybersecurity, many are scrambling to figure out how to protect their data from getting in the hands of hackers. Few realize that, nowadays, one in four online accounts gets hacked!
The truth is, we store a lot of our personal information online in our various accounts, including our email, online storage, and social media accounts. This information, like our social security numbers, credit card information, addresses and more, is golden to cybercriminals. And, unfortunately, in this battle over our personal data, hackers are winning.
Knowing how your information may get hacked is the first step in protecting yourself. Without further ado, here are the seven most common ways you may get hacked this year.
1. Phishing sites & emails
Phishing sites are websites that look just like any legitimate site, but that were set up by hackers with the purpose of stealing your information. When you browse to any site you use often, such as Facebook or your email site, you’ll enter your login information and then see an error message. After that, the site will reload—this time, you’ll be directed to the real site, and you’ll continue browsing without realizing you’ve just given your login credentials to hackers.
Similar to phishing sites, phishing emails look like they were sent from a legitimate service provider. Without professional knowhow, discerning them from a legitimate email can be very difficult. These emails will typically prompt you to click on a link to update your credentials or provide other personal information. When you click the link, you’ll be directed to a phishing site, and the information you enter there goes directly to hackers.
2. PC and mobile malware
Malware, or malicious software, can piggyback on even the most popular software applications in order to steal your information. Download sites often screen for malware, but they don’t always catch infected files that have been uploaded by hackers. The sites that are most saturated with malware are illegal file sharing sites and sharing networks like BitTorrent. You’re almost guaranteed to download infected software if you use these sites.
3. WiFi hacks
Ever sat at a coffee shop or bookstore and connected your mobile device or laptop to their open WiFi network? If so, you’ve put yourself at high risk for hacking. Public routers have often been breached, such that anything you send over that network can easily fall into the hands of hackers.
4. Zero-day exploits
Zero-day exploits are gaps in online defense systems that are unknown to security professionals but that have been discovered by hackers. Because of how complicated computer systems are nowadays, any change could cause unintended vulnerabilities. If hackers discover a vulnerability before security professionals do, they could use it to infect your device with malware and steal your information.
5. Password lists
You can probably guess what a password list is… but in case you can’t, it’s a collection of hundreds of thousands of passwords that have been collected from breached accounts. Hackers go through these lists of common passwords in an attempt to break into your account. If your password is on one of these lists, you’re on your way to getting hacked.
6. Stolen password files
Choosing a more complex password may save you from password lists and brute force attacks, but you’re basically helpless when a master password file has been stolen from your online service provider. The sad fact is that this happens more often than we’d like, especially to poorly protected third party sites. The best protection in this scenario is simply changing all of your passwords often.
7. Social engineering
Social engineering is probably the most time-consuming method hackers use to gain access to your accounts, but that doesn’t always stop them. Social engineering involves a hacker contacting your service provider pretending to be you. With a little bit of information they may have already obtained about you, coupled with some guesswork and a plausible story, the hacker may succeed in getting the service provider to grant him access to your account.
Protect yourself from hacking
You can’t protect yourself from all types of hacking, but you can take measures right now to better secure your personal information. Head over to LogDog on the Play Store for a free anti-hacking tool that will help you protect and keep control over your most valuable accounts.
About the Author:
Omri Toppol has been working with hi-tech startups for over 15 years. He is an entrepreneur with an extensive technical background and a passion for mobile.
LogDog anti-hacking and privacy tool protects the most popular online account types including Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox by detecting unusual access activity and alerting users so they can take control of their accounts before hackers do.