Over the years general awareness about cyber security has drastically risen. The average consumer is now more protected than ever thanks to new, more secure protocols, software.
Software, however, cannot be relied on completely. Sooner or later someone will find a way to crack even the most secure encryptions and data security will again be a problem. That’s why everyone should know the importance of keeping themselves safe online.
How can your device be hacked?
There are numerous ways someone can hack into your life. The most common attack point for average consumers is their smartphone. Think about it, there’s a chance that everything you’re typing, seeing and doing on your smartphone is being monitored or even recorded by someone.
Probably the most common method that intruders use to get inside your smartphone is via a malicious app. An example would be apps like ShareIT and UC Browser, two very common apps that potentially stole data from millions of people.
Such apps can help their developers gain access to your phone. They can access files, activate your camera and mic, read your contacts, check our call logs, log your keyboard presses, read your texts and even send texts from your phone — without you even knowing.
Talking about cyber security, laptops/PCs come at a close second. In a fashion similar to smartphones, malicious software can get on your computer and cause all sorts of trouble. This software usually reaches a computer either through a virus-infected physical storage device or through malicious internet download.
See that ultra-compressed cracked FIFA 19 setup file that’s only 19 MB? Well unless you want viruses playing football with your files, don’t download it.
From data theft, privacy invasion to corrupting your hard drive, any part of your computer can be compromised. The intruder can turn on your webcam and mic without you even knowing. They can log your keystrokes and even access your files remotely.
Even electric skateboards and light bulbs can be hacked these days! There have been vulnerabilities found in Amazon Echo, which allows an intruder to get in and access all your smart appliances. As for electric skateboards, the Bluetooth/WiFi link between the remote and the skateboard can be hijacked pretty easily.
5 precautions to keep yourself secure
See that taped webcam on your geek friend’s laptop, it’s there for a reason. Thankfully, cyber security isn’t too difficult nowadays. With a little bit of common sense and a few good precautions, you’re good to go.
In case you’ve already been infected, disconnect your device from the internet to stop any data streaming. The best way to get rid of any infection is to do a factory reset. However, there may be workarounds according to your particular situation.
Here are some guidelines that you can follow to make sure that you are protected.
- Always keep your operating system updated to the latest edition. Most smartphone companies release monthly security patches for their devices. They’re important as they mitigate the risk of contracting any new malicious code out there.
- Try and stay away from shady apps/software from unauthorised sources. Only sideload an app on your phone if you’re sure that the source is trustworthy.
- Don’t forget to scan any flash-drives and memory cards you use. There’s a chance there might be a Trojan horse or a worm looped somewhere inside it.
- Keep your eyes open. Check any links you’ve received from unknown sources before clicking. Also, please don’t read emails that say you’ve won a billion dollars in some lottery organised by Coca-Cola. Just don’t. They’re scams.
- Most important of all, always have a good anti-virus/anti-malware installed on your device. Do regular scans and immediately quarantine/delete any malicious files you come along.
Once again, please update your devices. I can’t stress enough about how important this is. The older your version, the more risk you face.
Stay safe and remember cyber security is elementary.
Someone who writes/edits/shoots/hosts all things tech and when he’s not, streams himself racing virtual cars. You can reach out to Yadullah at [email protected], or follow him on Instagram or Twitter.