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Cyberthreats You Need To Know About

Oct 6, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Whenever your computer or laptop starts to act up, or not perform in the manner you’re used to, most people would use the phrase, “I think my computer has a virus.” Computer viruses have become a blanket term for all of the different cybersecurity threats that loom on the Internet, but not all threats are “viruses,” and each one has unique characteristics on how they infiltrate your computer and how cybercriminals use them.

Digital Threats

Viruses

Let’s start with viruses. Even though it is a bit of a blanket statement, computer viruses do exist, and it’s not good when your computer catches one. Much like the common cold, a computer virus is meant to be spread. If you discover that your computer or laptop has a virus, quickly unplug and close access to any other attached device (digitally or hardwired). The whole purpose of a virus is to give cybercriminals an access point to your digital information.

Ransomware

Think of ransomware as a device used to “kidnap” your digital information and hold it as ransom. These programs or software steal valuable information and documents from your computer and encrypt them so you can’t access them anymore. The cybercriminals then ask for “ransom” to reopen the file. This tactic is often used against businesses, organizations and business professionals for financial gain.

Spyware

Spyware is one of the more annoying types of cyberthreats. Spyware and Adware are often interchangeable, but the purpose remains the same: to track your online movements. Adware are those pesky ads that popup unannounced. Spyware can get on your computer when you access unsecure websites. Let’s say you click a link posted on an unsecure site. Even though it took you to a different page, it also could have downloaded Spyware without your permission. From there, Spyware tracks, or “spies” on your online movements, which often results in compromised accounts.

Keyloggers

Just as the name suggests, this type of cyberthreat is used to track and record the keystrokes you make on your computer. Mainly it is used to snatch passwords, credit card and PIN information from users. Keyloggers generally end up on user’s computers by tricking them into downloading it. One example is a fake email from your bank saying you need to download a program, then it asks for your PIN number to start — something banks never do (unless you’re at an ATM).

Botnets

To attack big organizations or companies, cybercriminals will use botnets. These are a series of viruses that infect a whole network of computers with keyloggers, spyware, etc. If botnets get implanted deep enough in a network of computers, cybercriminals can essentially “take over” the system, like digital pirates. Botnets are used to harvest large amounts of data such as credit card numbers from hundreds of thousands of people. This is why it is imperative that large companies protect against these threats.

Now that you are aware of some of the most common threats to your cybersecurity, in tomorrow’s article, we’ll cover how you can protect against them.

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