- November 11th, 2015
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Online Safety, PC security
Ransomware. The word itself sends shivers down our spines. The concept that someone could be brazen enough to infiltrate and lock your computer, and then have audacity to demand money so you can get your information restored or unlocked, is shocking and terrifying. It’s also happening with increasing frequency.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your computer or mobile phone and prevents you from accessing your data (all of it!) until you pay a ransom. That ransom is usually demanded in Bitcoin payment, an encrypted form of online payment that enables the hacker to collect money online and anonymously. As for the rates demanded, these can vary widely. In some cases, victims are asked to pay hundreds of dollars; in other cases (usually those that target businesses and corporations) victims are asked to pay several thousand dollars.
Social Engineering is a pretty hot topic nowadays. It seems like every time you turn around there is another story about a major corporation, important person or institution whose data has been compromised. Often, these hacks began with an email that shouldn’t have been opened, or the revealing of information that should never have been told.
No, these attacks are not the brainchild of some evil tech genius, cranking out infected code and overrunning systems with malware. Rather, they are the results of an art that dates back as far as human existence, when the first cave man convinced the second cave man that it was entirely worthwhile to trade his woolly mammoth for a handful of rocks.
It’s fun to be scared by frightening costumes and pranks at Halloween. Heck, who DOESN’T like a good DIY zombie get-up? But one thing that’s definitely NOT fun is being hit by a real-life cybercriminal who is trying to hack into your PC or steal your identity.
After all, ghosts, witches, and haunted houses are one thing. Having your PC turned into a zombie, your email hacked by a cybercriminal, or all the data on your computer held ransom by a cyber con artist – well that’s something altogether different.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month (in the US) and European Cyber Security Month (in Europe) are coming to an end, which makes this the perfect time to double and triple check your cyber safety. Do you approach your use of the internet with a grain salt or are you reckless? Are you doing all you can to protect yourself from online trouble or are you just a hack waiting to happen?
Read the statements below and make 100% sure that they don’t describe your online behavior. If just ONE of them rings familiar, then it’s time to change your online behavior ASAP. Your personal privacy and security depends on it.
If those three little letters don’t strike at least a bit of fear in your heart already, then they probably will after you read this.
If you recall from Part I, the Internet of Things (IoT) affords people with lots of cool and exciting conveniences. But before you run off to buy a computer chip for your goldfish, it would be wise to remember that every device that’s connected to the internet can become a target to hackers. And as you may imagine, that’s not always a good thing. Here are some more reminders that more connectivity is not necessarily better. And after these examples, we’ll give you some tips on how to protect yourself.