Something as simple as using software to monitor someone’s activities was once every hacker’s dream.
But fast-forwarding to 2024, according to Angelica Rivera from celltrackingapps.com, a renowned technology expert who owns a website about spyware apps, there are now endless ways in which cyber attackers can target literally anyone.
Luckily, understanding the threats and how you can prevent them can help keep you safer.
Top 3 Cybersecurity Challenges
In all honesty, there are plenty and varied kinds of cybersecurity threats that exist today. But there are three main cybersecurity challenges that have gained traction this year. They include:
- Privacy-related attacks
- Ransomware attacks
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) attacks
Put simply, cybersecurity is all about protecting data stored in a computer from unauthorized access. However, hackers are also constantly looking for ways of stealing that data for a variety of reasons.
Stolen data usually falls under one of these categories:
- Payment Data
The number one cybersecurity concern most internet users have is having someone steal their payment info. It could mean stealing your credit card information or hacking an entire bank.
- Authentication Details
Stealing login details isn’t as threatening to a random person as stealing money is. However, if you are a celebrity or an important figure, this may be highly valuable.
- Copyrighted Material
It is not just common but also an easily accessible scam that threatens cybersecurity. Any type of online content, whether written, filmed, designed, or photographed could be subjected to theft.
- Medical Records
You may think that your medical records are of no value to anyone but you. But you would be very mistaken. Data gathered from medical records is very sought after on the black market. ID thieves will use it for free healthcare and then you will have to pay for their treatment.
- Classified information
This is related to all the information that should be hidden from the general public but ends up being exposed. Revealing these top secrets may ruin a company’s image or endanger national security.
Earlier in 2024, Twitter was the victim of a massive hack that saw accounts of prominent figures compromised. And in all that, the hackers managed to rake in up to $120,000 from the bitcoin scam.
While computer viruses are no longer a big threat in 2024, ransomware is still very much alive. Ideally, they work by infecting a PC and encrypting its data before demanding a ransom payment for decryption.
Three types of ransomware exist in cyberspace:
You will most likely receive a pop-up message telling you there’s something wrong with your computer. Then they state you must pay to get rid of the problem. Yet, all your data is safe.
Your screen will be locked and you won’t be able to see anything but the message from law enforcement. They will be telling you that you’re under investigation and must pay to gain access to your device.
- Encrypting Ransomware
This is the most dangerous type of ransomware. The attackers will steal and encrypt your files. Then, they will assure you to return all to normal after payment. However, even if you do pay them, there are no guarantees you will ever get the files back.
Ransomware attacks are commonly run from foreign countries, making it difficult to track the attackers. They pose a huge threat to cybersecurity since law enforcement can’t take action unless they operate from the same country.
And even though most people hear of worldwide cyber-attacks only, 2024 has had its own share of ransomware attacks. The sad bit about such attacks is that there is no end in sight too. This is mainly because new hacking threats emerge every year.
With AI and machine learning growing to new heights, criminals are also learning to use AI to fuel cyber attacks. And this poses a much bigger threat than ransomware attacks since it has a larger impact.
Attackers use AI to infiltrate systems in different ways, but they mainly rely on these 3 methods:
- Data poisoning
There are two types of data poisoning-ones affecting the ML’s availability and the one affecting its integrity (backdoor attacks). The first method messes up the algorithm until it becomes useless. The second refers to infecting the algorithm so it leaves a backdoor entry for further usage.
- Bot manipulation
Bots are being used to trick algorithms and win trading deals by knowing how the said algorithms operate.
- Generative Adversarial Networks
GANs are two AI systems competing with one another. One is simulating original content and the other one is catching mistakes. That way they generate content that looks entirely original.
3 Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity
There’s no sure-fire way of protecting yourself from all emerging cyber threats. However, there are a few good practices that you can implement to ensure you are a tad bit safer.
1. Use a VPN
Most people only use VPNs to access restricted content. But VPNs can offer much more in terms of protection.
Since a VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it to anonymous routers, your true identity will remain hidden. As such, it’ll be much tougher for hackers to target you when they launch an attack on your device.
2. Educate Your Employees
Employee education also goes a long way to help improve the cybersecurity of your organization. In fact, many hackers infiltrate systems by targeting people who are green to good security practices.
Nevertheless, educating them prepares them on how to handle current or emerging cyber threats. In addition, it could also be a good idea to use undetectable spy apps to monitor their activities too.
3. Encrypt Important Files
Lastly, you should also make a point of encrypting any important files that you wouldn’t want hackers to access. And since they cannot access the files, they’d also have nothing to hold you to ransom with.
You can and should also go an extra step by backing up your data on cloud services as well. With backed up copies in different cloud servers, you won’t be worried about losing any of your encrypted data.
There’s still a lot more to do to improve our cybersecurity. But with attackers getting smarter too, this makes it difficult to simply stick to a single solution.
Rather, the focus should be on educating people about cybersecurity threats around us and offering them all viable solutions too.