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The biggest threats to your personal data in 2021

Online security is more important than ever. According to a recent study, a cyber attack happens every 39 seconds. Online security is quickly becoming a greater part of daily life in an interconnected digital society.

Fortunately, consumers may take precautions to protect their data and keep hackers away from personal information. Here are seven of the most serious threats that consumers should be aware of in 2021.

Virus

In 1982 Apple virus was devised as a practical joke by a secondary school student. But now, Viruses are designed to duplicate and attach themselves to software on your computer, replicating via copied server files, downloadable unsolicited emails, and the interchange of CDs, DVDs, and USB sticks.

Once a virus infects your system and spreads quickly, you’ll lose everything from hard drive space including confidential information.

Solution: An antivirus software can prevent virus infections in the first place. It can protect Windows-based devices from security threats. If your device still gets infected, a good antivirus can find the best way to remove it by checking an online database.

There are several other benefits of investing in a good antivirus software, as you get security features like spam protection, virtual keyboards, advanced firewall solutions, and much more.

Although you only really need one antivirus program, various versions may conflict. Also, avoid suspicious websites that can expose your device to virus attacks.

Spyware

Spyware is a form of malware that is designed to keep itself hidden and collect usage information that can be used to breach personal data. The longer spyware is present on a device, the more severe the damage can be.

Spyware can access your keystrokes, connected cameras, microphone, and even your browser history. People who use online payment solutions frequently, or businesses are prime targets for spyware attacks.

Solution: A trusted security software – Look for antivirus software that has integrated anti-spyware features. The main source of spyware attacks is through the internet, but they are completely avoidable if you stay vigilant of suspicious links, pop-ups, email attachments, and use a virtual keyboard to input financial data on the internet.

Worms

Computer worms are a type of malware that infects the host device by replicating itself repeatedly. It can also easily spread to other devices connected to the host. Unlike viruses, worms can perform their malicious actions without any intervention from the device user. Worms exploit the parts of an operating system that are automated, and not accessible to the user.

Solution: Good cybersecurity hygiene – Having awareness about the different means of attack on the internet is the first step to avoid worm infections. Get a network traffic monitoring software to check for sudden spikes in data transfer from your device.

These spikes can be indicative of a worm trying to upload your personal data. Keep your OS and antivirus software updated regularly, don’t click on random links, and use a good firewall solution. Also, having encryption on sensitive data can help to deter worm infections.

Spam Messages

Spam messages can come in the form of emails and SMS. These are sent out in bulk to a huge number of email addresses or phone numbers. These junk messages aim to either infect a device using malicious links or attachments or commercialize products.

Clicking on links included with spam mails can lead to phishing websites or sites loaded with malware.

Solution: Don’t give out your email address randomly – Several websites ask for your email when you visit them. It is generally a good idea to not give out your personal email address to random websites, as they can either send emails that are useless, or emails intended for malicious purposes.

Keyloggers

Keyloggers can get into your device with relative ease, and keep track of every keystroke that you make. This includes typed passwords, personal messages, sensitive payment information, and much more.

It is quite easy to pick up a keylogger from malicious websites, and there are negligible symptoms of infection on your device.

Solution: Enter sensitive information carefully – A good firewall and antivirus solution can protect your device from getting infected with keyloggers in the first place.

But, in case you have doubts about being infected, and still need to enter sensitive data on the machine, you can use a virtual keyboard to enter it. This form of input cannot be tracked by most keyloggers.

Malicious Security Software

Recently the wiper malware was used in an attack against Iran’s train system. This shows how important it is to protect yourself from malwares. While having an anti-malware solution on your device is essential, choosing the wrong one can have serious consequences on your security.

There are several fake antivirus software that are available for free and lure in users with lucrative features. But, in reality, they are either loaded with malware like trojan horse, and don’t have even the basic features needed to diagnose and remove malware.

Solution: Check twice before settling on your security app – There are thousands of fake antivirus solutions out there, but a simple google search can help you to differentiate between the legit and the fake ones. If you’re still in doubt, settle with a trusted solution from popular companies, even if they cost more.

Adware

Advertisements have become an accepted part of the internet and other forms of media. But, the problem arises when ads lead you to malicious websites or software. These can get into your pc with software installations, or by clicking malicious links.

Adware can be a great breach of privacy also, as these also act as a form of spyware, gathering information about your interests to tailor advertisements according to them.

Solution: Avoid advertisements – Don’t click on random advertisements on websites, and in case you get a pop-up asking you to close it, don’t click them, as these are a part of the advertisement too. Using a pop-up blocker on your browser is also a great way to avoid adware.

When installing software, check if they have any additional offers that will get installed with it, as normally these are adware that gets bundled with programs.

Conclusion

Going through this extensive list of security threats may increase your anxiety about the advancements in technology, and their misuse. But, if you maintain the basics of cybersecurity hygiene, and keep the solutions listed above in mind, it is quite easy to avoid severe attacks from hackers.

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