By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Cybersecurity scams are an increasing threat. According to AppRiver’s Global Security Report, there were more than 14.5 billion emails containing malware sent in 2017. Most of these threats come from the U.S. and peak during the fall. Then there are the billions of records which were stolen or lost due to cyber attacks in the first part of 2017 alone. These weren’t just small, isolated attacks; giant corporations like Equifax and Yahoo were targeted, affecting over 3 billion people.
What’s worse, much of the data hacked in cybersecurity scams from last year will actually be used to target you in 2018.
Here are some cybersecurity scams we’re currently seeing:
Malware and phishing – There has been a staggering 1,000 percent increase in phishing throughout 2017, including those that attempt to get users’ login information. These are affecting most major services including Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail. That same strategy has carried over to 2018, and in all likelihood, it’s going to increase further.
Malware for sale – We have also seen an abundance of usernames and credit card numbers stolen and available on the dark web. In fact, anyone can easily get about 20,000 pieces of information for around $40.
Ransomware – We’ve seen new types of ransomware from 2017 carry into 2018. These include some you might be familiar with, like Jaff, Spora, Cerber, Nemucod, and Petya/NotPetya. The biggest were:
- WannaCry – This ransomware affected hundreds of thousands of machines across the globe, and to get rid of it, users were asked to pay $300 in bitcoin.
- Locky – This ransomware renames your computer’s files, and then scrambles them so you don’t know what’s what. Of course, you pay a fee to get the ransomware removed.
DDE Attacks – Dynamic Data Exchange attacks were in full swing. These are spread through Microsoft Word documents; when you open the document, the malware hits your computer.
Cybersecurity scams: Predictions for 2018
- Large-scale data breaches: Data breaches are getting larger and more sophisticated, and it’s likely that in 2018, they will become larger still. Whether you are a business owner or a consumer, now is the time to lock down your devices and ensure you’re taking online privacy and security seriously.
- Phishing attacks from known brands: As we saw throughout 2017, and even before, no company is immune from getting hacked. So if you get an email from what looks like a legitimate friend, vendor or client, it could be that their email was hacked. Check the email address and content for errors and never click on suspicious links.
- Attacks from foreign entities: It is also likely that we will continue to see more attacks sponsored by foreign governments, such as Russia, China, and North Korea. A recent example was when Russia allegedly launched a cyber attack with an aim to disrupt the operations of state and private companies in Ukraine, causing political instability that ultimately crippled operations around the world.
- Cryptocurrency threats: If you are into cryptocurrency, you should definitely watch your back. Theft is high right now, and it is poised to get higher. Watch out for phishing emails, and don’t leave your cryptocurrency in the exchange in which you bought it; transfer it to a more secure wallet.
- WiFi hacking getting easier: With easily obtainable hardware and software that snoops on public WiFi, it is essential to use a VPN such as Hotspot Shield to encrypt your online activities and protect your data from hackers.
- IoT botnets: The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is taking over our homes and offices, but so are the attacks on the connected devices we buy. By following these few simple tips, you can ensure you’re better protected.
The old “tried and true” tricks such as tech support scams, romance scams, advance fee scams, and the IRS scam will, of course, continue into eternity. As always, be on your guard, stay skeptical, do your due diligence, and ensure you’re taking every possible precaution to protect your identity and your online security.
After all, in today’s day and age, we have a lot more to worry about than just emails from Nigeria offering millions to transfer their enormous wealth out of the country. In 2018, cybercriminals will become increasingly sneaky.