Our mindset on cyber-attacks and how hackers access our computers

The internet is amassed and so big; attackers will never have access to my computer, why would they choose me out the millions of internet users? Now these are common beliefs and myths that so many people hide themselves in.

Most victims of attack are vulnerable and use unpatched devices like computers that can be hijacked and used to launch Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Everyone is as much as a victim of an attack as a big organization that is always thought of as target.

It’s never an issue when massive attacks hit the headlines, credit card details scooped, social security numbers stolen, millions of addresses and ID details lost to the dark web, millions of email details, dates of birth and personal medical details swiped in audacious attacks.

As individuals, we often make unconscious assumptions that we are safe from attacks. The hackers are only going after the fleshy meat, fat tax payers with greater wedges, those that can absorb cyber-attacks. But this mindset is a great mistake and mythical.

Most hackers do sweeping and indiscriminate probes of all computers connected to the internet. Where every computer is a target. The various encounters made by the attackers detect if a computer is not protected and this brings knowledge to the attacker on their next move.

Unprotected computers and devices over the network are of great value to hackers since their computing power and internet connectivity can be of great advantage and a hacker simply adds them botnets or use them as zombie machines for spamming and sending malicious emails containing viruses and other malware.

WannaCry virus hit National Health Service (NHS) 2017 (an article by Dan Elsom)

“The most widespread cyber attack ever, hackers managed to gain access to the NHS’ computer system in mid-2017, causes chaos among the UK’s medical system. The same hacking tools were used to attack world-wide freight company FedEx and infected computers in 150 countries. Ransomware affectionately named “WannaCry” was delivered via email in the form of an attachment. Once a user clicked on the attachment, the virus was spread through their computer, locking up all of their files and demanding money before they could be accessed again. As many as 300,000 computers were infected with the virus.”

How cyber criminals use your computer

  • A hacker remotely installs a keylogger or spyware onto your computer to capture every keystrokes that you make and collects; usernames and passwords typed on the keyboard whenever logging into online accounts. Hackers use your computer details to log into your bank accounts that exist online, carry out transactions and basically steal your money.
  • Send malicious emails to contacts in victim’s email lists in order to spread malware.
  • Use your computer as part of hijacked computers to form a network of computers that perform DoS attacks to targets like banks, law firms and government organizations.
  • Use your computer to sniff out and copy traffic on your network, which could include traffic from credit card or other data processing servers.
  • Use your computer to exchange illegal or stolen materials as your computer can be used as a proxy to hide the true origin of the activities of the attacker online.
  • As you can see if a hacker gets a foothold in your computer, they can expand to every computer on your network using different techniques among which may include sending malicious mails containing malicious links, inserting malicious packets on the network, hijacking ads, probing for weakness on several ports on the network.

How to protect oneself from the cyber criminals

As far as securing our selves from the conduct of attackers over internet is concerned, Summit Consulting Ltd stipulates on the various hygiene you can use to shield yourself

  1. Take note, do not necessarily click attachments to emails sent to you unless its intended and you trust the source.
  2. To this point, you should have up-to-date licensed internet security software installed that is comprised of antivirus and antispyware protection. These programs should be automatically set to scan and maintain the software up-to-date.
  3. You should review app permissions before downloading all mobile apps onto your mobile device.
  4. Continually check your personal accounts and correct any discrepancies as soon as possible.
  5. Unknown programs should never be downloaded to your computer.
  6. Set your operating system to update automatically.
  7. Take note to have a unique strong password for all accounts using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  8. Ensure daily file Back up to help you restore data in the event of a ransomware attack.

No one is safe when it comes to cyber criminals, our sharing of personal information and reliance on online services make us all potential targets of internet crime.

 

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