Modern hackers and identity thieves are more cunning than ever before. With more tools at their disposal, as well as easy access to a countless number of novice and naive computer users, cyber criminals have plenty of opportunities to ply their trade.
Looking at Some of the Most Common Methods
- Brute force hacking: One of the earliest and most rudimentary attacks, some hackers resort to guessing passwords. They usually begin by gathering part of a user’s login credentials – like their username – and use specialized software to try different passwords until they find a match. Creating a strong password that features a mix of alphabetic and numeric characters, as well as mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, is usually the best defense against brute force hacking.
- Public Wi-Fi hacking: With so many consumers visiting their local coffee shops and cafes for Internet access, hackers have a brand new avenue to stalk. In some cases, you don’t even need to be connected to the shop’s Wi-Fi; there are some hacking apps that can detect electronic signals and allow a hacker to access your device. Keyloggers: If a hacker gains access to a system, it’s rather easy for them to install a secret keylogger. This type of malicious software will record every button you press on the keyboard – including your login credentials, passwords, credit card numbers, and more. All of this information is secretly recorded to a hidden log file, which can later be retrieved by the hacker and used to access your online accounts.
- Phishing: Phishing attacks are also becoming more common in the 21st century. In this scenario, hackers pose as a legitimate company. Ideally, they’ll pretend to be a representative with a company that you’re already working with – like a bank or other financial institution. This is usually done through email, but it might be completed over the phone, too. In either case, the hacker directs you to login and verify your account. Unsurprisingly, the site in question is a fake website that was created by the hacker. Once you’ve entered in your personal information, they can then use this at the real site to access your actual account.
- Social engineering: This method is less commonly seen than some of the others, but it can be quite effective in its simplicity. In this scenario, a hacker or identitythief simply asks you for your password. They attempt to gain your trust by pretending to be someone of importance – like an IT security representative, a manager, or something similar – in order to convince you of their legitimacy.
- Tax scams: Hackers and identity thieves utilize many different tax scams during the tax season. In some cases, they’ll use the victim’s Social Security number to file a return. There are also fraudulent websites, fake IRS agents, and more – all of which are designed to dupe you out of your next tax return.
Not only do all of these attacks have the potential for data loss, but they could expose your sensitive information – like passwords, account credentials, and more. While a consistent data backup strategy could save you from any potential data loss, these archives need to be protected, too; or else they provide yet another opportunity for would-be hackers to strike.