By Laura Yecies
Hackers today know there’s one easy way to bypass your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware – you.
Yes, they know it. If you have a full security suite, including all the core elements (don’t forget browser security), hackers can’t penetrate it without an expressed, written invitation from you.
What are the top tricks today?
1. You leave a window open. Or more specifically, you leave your MS Windows open. You know those zero-day patches Microsoft issues? Install them! Patch Tuesday? Don’t hesitate. The minute those vulnerabilities are disclosed, hackers go to work exploiting them.
2. Phishing – These e-mails still can occasionally evade some desktop and ISP filters and find their way into your inbox. Don’t fall victim…your bank won’t e-mail you and ask you to log into your account. When in doubt, call them directly (not the phone number in the email though)
3. Fake Web sites: Often advertised through search engines, these legitimate-looking sites will bait you into willingly downloading spyware etc.
4. Holiday fraud – Beware e-mails or search ads showcasing hard-to-find holiday gifts at bargain prices. Those deals are usually too good to be true.
5. Nigerian scams – For some reason, people still fall victim to those old Nigerian scams. NO, no one is ever going to offer you $5 million to rescue their inheritance from an evil dictator.
Hackers today, in completion now with each other, are relying on sheer numbers to infest and steal. They have to rely on tricks instead of technology. In fact, much of the basic technology used behind the simplest tricks can be easily bought by anyone looking to perpetrate a scam online.
I know it can be tempting to be passive about security…it’s not always convenient and we sure have heard about attacks for years! But there’s a reason why massive botnets exist on the Internet today – millions if PCs are hacked and the people don’t even know it. Or if they do, they don’t really care (IE “I don’t have anything to lose.” But you do!).
Granted, there’s always going to be a percentage of computer users who simply aren’t savvy about security. The technology scares them, or they simply don’t think they could be a target (the “why would a hacker care about me” defense).
But there’s also a percentage who allow their security subscriptions to lapse, assuming their 4-year-old security suite that came pre-installed on their PC can keep up. But it can’t. You need the updates (whether you use ZA or anyone else).
Hackers always innovate, and so do we to keep a step ahead. And when innovation stalls, they always have a few tricks up their sleeves.