3 Common Cyberattacks and How to Protect Your Online Information

In today’s digital world, the internet has become an essential part of our everyday lives as we work, play, learn, shop, bank, and more online. However, as technology evolves, so does cybercrime.

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month , we want to provide information that will help you identify three common cyberattacks so you can better protect your personal information online.

Common Types of Cyberattacks

Cybercriminals are always trying new ways to trick you into giving them your sensitive information. Some of the most common methods they use are ransomware, phishing, and password cracking.

Ransomware

Through this method, hackers encrypt a victim’s personal information to prevent them from accessing their files, databases, or applications until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware  is distributed through email scams and other targeted attacks, with messaging that fools you into clicking on a malicious link or an unsecure website, allowing the ransomware to download to your computer.

Phishing

Phishing is a cybercrime that targets people through email, phone, or text messages by posing as legitimate businesses to try to gain access to your passwords, credit cards, or other personal information. These scams often include offers that are “too good to be true” or that induce a sense of urgency to trick you into clicking a malicious link before you realize it’s a scam.

Password Cracking

Another common cyberattack is password cracking, in which criminals try different techniques to break through the password authentication step on a website to access your sensitive information. Creating weak passwords, using the same password for all your accounts, or storing passwords as plaintext on your computer increases your risk of being a victim of password cracking.

These three types of cyberattacks are only a few of the many ways criminals attempt to steal your sensitive information. Fortunately, you can be proactive about protecting your information. Let’s dive into how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of cybercrime.    

How to Protect Yourself Online

Cybercriminals only thrive when people are unaware of how to identify potential scams or adequately protect their sensitive information. Here’s a list of a few ways you can improve cybersecurity in your life:   

  • Install anti-virus software on your computer and keep it up to date.
  • Do not click on a link or open an attachment in an email or text unless you are expecting the file and have verified the sender’s contact information.
  • Create strong passwords that include a mix of numbers, symbols, and at least 15 characters, and consider using a password manager to keep them safe.
  • Be extra cautious about messages urging you to act quickly.
  • Watch for spelling errors in email addresses, as scammers often use slight variations in spelling during phishing attempts.
  • Be wary of any electronic requests for payment or transfer of funds.
  • Scrutinize every correspondence that starts with “we’ve noticed suspicious activity” or similar message.
  • Always be mindful that everyone is at risk of cybercrime.

For more resources about cybersecurity and how to keep your information safe online, visit staysafeonline.org.