Everyone is a potential target for hackers. But there are ways to protect yourself.
But as Sun Tzu once said in The Art of War: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles".
Learning about the tactics hackers employ to gain access to your accounts and sensitive data is essential for preventing such attacks.
These are the three most common hacking methods and how you can avoid them:
1- Compromised Accounts
What is it?: This is what happens when a whole server gets hacked.
Websites and social media platforms store the data they collect from their users on a server. This data includes usernames, passwords, and full names, if not much more.
If this server is broken into by a hacker, all those accounts are effectively compromised. Unfortunately for us, this happens often.
This means that the hacker could potentially track down other online accounts you've registered with the same email or username, and if you use the same password for those too, consider them hacked.
What you can do: The only reason one account being compromised leads to all your other accounts being compromised is using the same exact password for all of them.
That's why it is highly recommended that you give each of your online accounts strong and unique passwords, which Myki was specifically designed to help you securely store and manage.
What is it?: This is when a hacker sends out fraudulent emails, attempting to trick recipients into divulging their sensitive data.
For one reason or another, the recipient is instructed to follow a link and enter their data into what appears to be a legitimate login page.
But what that link actually leads them to is a dangerously-convincing fake webpage, designed to record any data entered into it.
In other words, a direct pipeline from you to the hacker, who idly waits for an unlucky fish to take the bait, and enter their sensitive data.
What you can do: To protect yourself from phishing attacks, all you need to do is be alert, and exercise common sense.
If you receive a suspicious email, be sure to look into its sender, and avoid following any links it instructs you to.
3- Spear Phishing
What is it?: This is a more sinister form of phishing where one particular individual or business is targeted.
Unlike the previous method, where generic emails are sent out to hundreds of people indiscriminately, this method is employed when a hacker wants to attack you specifically.
They might go about this by first gathering some information about you, like the name of the company you work at, for example.
After that, they could find the publicly-available name and email of one of your coworkers, perhaps stalk them on social media to learn more about them and study their typing style.
At that point, they could easily send you a spoofed email, which falsely shows your coworker as the sender, and convincingly ask you to follow a link or provide some sensitive data, under the guise of being your trusted coworker.
You'd probably comply without thinking twice about it.
What can you do: In addition to taking the same measures you would to protect yourself from standard phishing attacks, you'll need to exercise some extra caution.
If you receive an email from a coworker, or even a friend or family member, uncharacteristically asking you to follow a link or provide sensitive data, try contacting them through alternate methods (phone call, face-to-face, etc.) to make sure there isn't any foul play going on.
Hackers are like pickpockets: they are opportunistic. They only go after the most vulnerable of us.
That's why it's your duty to make it hard for them to target you, by learning all their tricks and tactics, setting up strong password management mechanisms and practicing good security habits.
In case you haven't downloaded it yet, Myki is an excellent tool to help you do all of that, and much more.