On top of enabling interaction with friends and family, the internet provides a brilliant avenue for online businesses and transactions as well. However, as internet usage continues to increase over the years, so do the activities of malicious hackers who are out to exploit innocent users.
Put simply, in as much as the internet is a convenient platform for interactions and transactions, it also exposes a user to numerous risks, especially in regards to hacking. Scammers have come up with advanced techniques to lure innocent browsers into providing personal information and login credentials. Below are some of the ways scammers try to trick you into providing personal information.
In the last year, there has been a 65% increase in phishing attacks. By disguising as legitimate sites or trustworthy entities, phishers attempt to obtain passwords, usernames and even credit card details from innocent subscribers.
Unfortunately, phishers have become more advanced in their techniques. To obtain your personal information, these cybercriminals will attempt to convince you of an urgent need to provide log in details to avoid security breaches. Once you provide your personal details, the hackers will attempt to access your accounts.
2. Public Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is widely considered as a hacker`s playground. Without a reliable VPN, using public networks can expose you to multiple privacy breach risks. Hackers can log in as third parties and access all your information during the browsing session.
Depending on the types of apps used, the scammer can obtain even the most sensitive details and proceed to use them maliciously. Also, some scammers have developed smarter ways to lure users to providing important details. An example is the creation of fake Wi-Fi to encourage users to access free internet. However, once you enter the login details, the scammer can retrieve or gain access to most of your sensitive details.
3. Drive-by downloads
Cyber-attacks have become increasingly popular over the years. To avoid making obvious attacks, hackers have adopted more prolific techniques to obtain user data with ease. For instance, a perfectly harmless and well-developed site or app can be used by hackers to lure you to provide your personal information.
By clicking on such sites, you will be redirected to several other sites which send you instant attacks. In most occasions, website owners are unaware of attacks set up on their sites. As a result, both users and site owners are at risk of malicious hackers.
4. Offers or Promotions
Initially, a majority of internet users used to fall prey to the ‘congratulations’ pranks. With these pranks, scammers notify you of a win whether cash or a valuable product. To claim your prize, you will be required to provide email and other personal information to enable smooth communication between the ‘agency’ and yourself.
Luckily for new users, such scams are no longer as effective as before. However, always practice caution when visiting sites or when pop-ups occur. Do not be quick to provide personal details. Instead, investigate a site`s credentials and countercheck severally before keying in your email or contact information.
5. Fake applications
The use of fake apps to obtain user information has become increasingly popular, more so due to the ever-increasing popularity of app stores. Hackers have devised techniques to create fake apps which are similar to the more popular ones. It is important to note that these can be the simplest forms of apps such as gaming, flashlights and even messaging apps.
Once you have downloaded the app, the scammers will hope you complete the installation process by providing permission to various applications such as contacts, messages, and photos. Eventually, through the fake app, the hacker will have access to your handset device without your knowledge. Avoid downloading applications with little reviews or downloads. Always counter check an app`s legitimacy before making any downloads.
6. Income earning opportunities
Hackers understand that no matter the income, money can never be enough. Therefore, these scammers will attempt to defraud you into signing up for a mouthwatering job opportunity.
Before you know it, you have provided hackers with every basic information from email, to physical addresses and even billing information for apps that require you to pay to access the job pool. This technique has caught thousands if not millions of browsers off-guard with most complaining that personal information was illegally acquired. To avoid such situations, ensure you browse cautiously and use VPNs to hide locations and determine the credibility of various sites.
7. Social media
Social media has created an avenue for enhanced sharing of content across the world. Due to this, hackers have become increasingly reliant on social media to share potentially harmful links that are corrupted by viruses, spyware, Trojans and even keyloggers.
Once you click on a malicious link, your PC will be redirected to multiple sites designed to further impair your operating system. The safest way to keep off scammers is to update your social media settings. Remove personal information such as email addresses. Even more important, do not open a link from an unknown source; chances are a scammer has identified you as a potential target and wants you to click on the link.