Cybersecurity breaches have become increasingly popular in the recent times. Cyber thieves use numerous ways of unknowingly installing viruses on the user’s devices usually with the motive of accessing personal information or damaging the device.
Types of Cyberattacks
Cyberattacks can occur in any kind of device or operating system, the most common ones being Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android and macOS. The types of viruses include spyware, ransomware and Trojan horses.
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- Exploit Kit – These are plagued toolkits equipped with prewritten code to detect any vulnerability in the software and inject viruses through that weak link.
- Malicious websites – These are websites that host an exploit kit ready to inject the virus into the device. The user will only have to visit the website to download the virus.
- Malvertising (Malicious Advertising) – Cybercriminals will put up virus equipped advertisements on legitimate websites. There is no user participation required for this kind of attack.
- Man-in-the-middle attack (MitM) – This attack uses a host network to gain access to connected devices such as a public Wi-Fi router. Hackers scan the router for devices that have weaknesses such as default or weak passwords.
The virus is injected between the computer and the websites visited by the user which intercepts any information such as passwords and financial details. For this type of cyberattack, it is mandatory for the hacker and the user to be in the physical presence of a router.
- Man-in-the-browser attack (MitB) – The virus is injected in the user’s computer will install itself into the browser without the user’s knowledge. The virus collects data between the user and specifically targeted websites to transmit it back to the attacker.
- Social engineering – This method manipulates human emotions to make users click the link to malicious websites. The links for files are sent to users through email, SMS and social media.
Precautions to Avoid Cyberattacks
When it comes to cybersecurity, it is better to prevent it than fixing it later. Precautionary steps one can take are:
- Keep the security for every device up to date – The firewall, anti-virus software must be up-to-date to fix or remove any bugs.
- Backup and protect your data – Important data should be copied to an external hard drive regularly to ensure that it remains safe. A cloud storage provider can also protect sensitive information from the malware.
- Monitor emails – There are many spam emails with infected links. One must avoid opening suspicious emails and attachments.
- Steer clear of popups – A pop-up blocker can be used wherever possible. If not, the links in popups must be avoided. Software advertised in pop-ups are not legitimate and should not be downloaded.
- Scan executable (.exe) files before executing them – The executable files contain stepwise instructions to carry out certain tasks. Scanning the files will make sure the tasks are legitimate.
However, sometimes even the most vigilant efforts are not enough. Symptoms that a device has been infected by a virus are:
- Slowdowns, crashing and error messages from the operating system of any device.
- An increase in the number of pop-up ads.
- New files and icons that have appeared out of the blue.
- Being redirected to unexpected websites.
Cyberattacks, mainly mobile ransomware attacks have increased by a third in 2018 as compared to 2017. The creative ways these attacks are executed without the knowledge of the user have made it more of a threat to their personal information. Thus, one must be vigilant of the software and links being downloaded on their computers.