Picture this, you’re sent a link on WhatsApp, at first glance, it seems like you’ve been lucky and won a prize, so you follow the link to collect your prize. The link takes you to a Facebook login page and you enter your credentials. Instead of getting access to your prize, you realise you’ve just provided your username and password to a malicious form that captured your personal data.
You have been a victim of phishing.
Scams have come a long way from the Nigerian prince emails from the 2000s, in 2023 scams are now sophisticated and unfortunately leave many susceptible to compromise. To help guard against this, you can take a number of steps to secure your computers and mobile devices to help maintain your online privacy.
The digital era has undoubtedly brought us enormous advantages, but as we become more immersed in technology, we are also more exposed to cybercriminals extorting us, stealing money, confidential information, or even our identity, and Australia is one of the countries most vulnerable to cyberattacks.
4 Cybersecurity threats companies and users confront
Currently, there are 4 important cyber threats that have generated chaos among Internet users and companies:
1. Spam Emails
These are mass e-mails that include supposed advertising or promotions, but when you click on them, they take you to malicious web pages that might harm your computer with viruses.
It is a deception technique used by hackers to steal our personal and banking information through a fake website of an official organization. Such as the Tax Office, our bank or any company or store that we think is completely trustworthy.
3. Identity Theft
It is not only through e-mails that cyber threats occur, but it is now very common for cybercriminals to steal information from social network profiles and impersonate users to request money from their contacts or disseminate some personal information.
This is digital extortion in which the cybercriminal threatens the user by hijacking information from a computer and asking for money in exchange. This attack has been one of the most worrying lately since it is possible to damage several computers simultaneously, which has occurred in cases of some companies.
6 Tips for building secure Cybersecurity environments
While you can find a lot of information about securing online privacy on the internet nowadays, here are six little-known points for creating cyber-safe environments:
Precisely, the specialist warns that you should not share your passwords (not even with your partner), nor use the same password on different platforms, and also advises you to change your passwords frequently.
In some platforms and internet services, there is even the option to send you a warning message in case you connect from a different device than the one you regularly use, so it is possible to detect if someone else wants to access your email.
It is very important that you do not click on everything you see, that you update your operating systems and programs, and get into the habit of deleting cookies periodically.
Also, consider browsing only HTTPS sites; do not save passwords on shared computers, and do not make transactions or enter passwords from a public network.
If you are someone who frequently uses public networks, you can prevent possible cyber attacks by using a VPN in Australia.
If your data is “personal”, you should not share it with anyone, unless there is an emergency, choose a person you absolutely trust so that he/she can carry out some procedure, for example, but always try to keep your privacy.
Cybersecurity specialists suggest that you know and exercise your rights and also check the privacy notice on the pages where you register for a specific purpose: an event, or shopping, among others. This will help you to improve the security of your personal data on the Internet.
One of the most important times to be diligent is when you go online to buy a product. When you purchase goods online, you will need to provide payment details. In the wrong hands, these details could be used to extract money from you or have the potential to ruin your credit rating if used to take out credit applications.
Remember to only shop on reputable sites and always type the address into the address bar, rather than following a link from an email.
It is also important to consider the internet connection you’re using. Avoid public networks to make purchases, as ‘free wifi’ can also be a potential source of a man-in-the-middle attack where the network operator captures your payment details during a transaction.
One of the best preventions you can take is to ensure you always update the software on your computer and phone and protect your equipment with a good security suite (including antivirus).
Personal data on commercial sites
When you interact with websites, many will require you to sign up before getting functionality. An example of this is a 3D printing site that requires you to register before downloading a free .STL file.
Often these requests for your data are broad and far-reaching, including your date of birth, physical address, your phone number, far in excess of what’s actually required to validate you’re a human looking to download the free asset.
Even a site with good intentions could be compromised and if that happens, you’ll wish you provided them with as little personally identifiable information as possible.
In addition to strictly personal data, it is necessary to take care of financial data. It is preferable to protect the security of our information, by using digital payment services that keep our banking and financial data protected.
An example of this is using Google Pay, Apple Pay or PayPal which wrap your financial details in a layer of protection. When shopping online in the Google Chrome browser on Windows, you can receive a Windows Hello verification prompt to validate that you can provide not only the CVC number for your card, but also biometric information to prove it’s you in front of the computer.
Also, remember to never provide data to unsolicited calls or messages.
The best technique is to find an alternative site for the content you’re searching for. It’s also a great idea to clean up (delete) accounts at sites you no longer require access to.