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Internet is without doubt one of the best things that happened to the world in the last three decades. It has opened so many opportunities, and most of all, it enables people to communicate and trade online. Today, most businesses trade online. But internet streets have also become dangerous places.
Criminals moved from our streets to online, where they are terrorising everyone from giant organisations and private citizens. Every year, millions of dollars are being lost to cybercriminals. You must have heard of hackings and the amount of money associated with such criminal activities.
You may not know, but every year, there has been an increase in the number of cyberattacks even here in Australia. What happens is most organisations do not go public to avoid losing investors’ confidence. What are the most common cyber attacks Australia? That’s what we have for you in this article.
Here are 5 popular cyber crimes and how you can prevent them:
Phishing is one of the most common and successful cyber-attacks not only here in Australia but also globally. These scammers mimic anything, including emails, messages, or social media profiles, and send you links with phishing software. A phishing attack spies on you and steals data without your knowledge.
Immediately after you click the sent link, the software installs and gives the scammer access to obtain personal information such as passwords and pins from your phone or computer. They can use the details to steal money from your banks, access your emails and so on. That is how people lose money to phishing fraudsters.
Prevention: Do not open links promising goodies. If sent a URL from a suspicious source, type the domain name directly instead of clicking. You should also be able to read the tell-tale signs of a phishing campaign. Phishing awareness among employees is also crucial.
As the name suggests, this type of cyber crime has something to do with paying out sums of money to release something. Only that in this case, your data is the hostage. Fraudsters attacks and steal data from you and demand payment to return it. It’s more of traditional extortion, only that it’s happening online.
Ransomware is software that encrypts data after successful phishing. Once your data is encrypted, you cannot access it until you pay the agreed ransom. This is an extortion scam that’s a big concern for companies even here in Australia. Studies have shown that Ransomware attacks are growing by almost 100% every year.
Prevention: Once ransomware has struck your company, the only thing that will save you is a data backup. Otherwise, you will need to pay the hacker. The best prevention is phishing awareness because that is where everything starts.
3. Website Spoofing
With website spoofing, scammers will design a phishing website that looks exactly like a legitimate one, maybe your favourite online shop. They will trick you into using a fake website. Once you key in your data such as username, email, passwords, credit card number and so on, they will steal it.
They will either use the data to blackmail and extort money from you or steal from you. They can buy from online stores using stolen credit card information. Therefore, there is a lot of damage they can do with the stolen personal information.
Prevention: Ignore anything you were not anticipating. If a URL is sent to you, don’t click but go direct to the trusted domain. You should also avoid any message that’s creating a form of ‘urgency’ to open. If a legitimate company is trying to reach you in a weird way, treat it as a red flag.
Malware is another cybercrime you need to know and protect yourself from. It is also a software attack, but it’s not like ransomware that holds your data hostage. What criminals using this method do is making you install phishing software like keyloggers without your knowledge. With a successful installation of the malware, they can spy on your activities and steal your personal/financial information.
Malware attackers still remain the biggest online threats, especially for corporates. They have been very successful in phishing crucial information from big companies worldwide, even here in Australia. Malware comes in many forms, including viruses that corrupt files or damage your system functionality. It can also be Trojans, worms or botnets disguised as legitimate software.
Prevention: Avoid suspicious websites, and be cautious with email attachments. You should also install a quality antivirus program and keep updating it. It’s also important that you learn how to identify and avoid phishing campaigns.
5. Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud
Identity theft and credit card fraud is a cybercrime that has been around for years. This is a crime where criminals pretend to be you after accessing your personal and financial information. They can access your credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial benefits in your name.
With your personal information, a criminal can also use your identity to commit a crime. Identity thieves have been changing their tactics by advancing with technology. That’s the reason identity theft has been around for years, and it’s not going away any time soon.
Prevention: Always protect your personal information. If you are buying using a credit card, do not leave a copy of the receipt behind. If you lose your credit card, report immediately and get it blocked. Always transact on trustworthy and secure online stores. Make it a habit to check your bank and credit card transactions often for suspicious transactions.
These are just five of the major cybercrimes you should know. What cybercriminals are looking for is your personal and financial information. Be alert for all possible attacks and keep your details safe. If charged with criminal charges due to identity theft, you need a good criminal defence, or you might serve for a crime you did not commit. A good defence lawyer can prove identity theft.
Any attempt to disrupt a computer network’s seamless functions by maliciously imposing damage on the system is called a cyber-attack. The definition of this term may seem incomplete to many cybersecurity experts because the factor of stealing data hasn’t been included. In this attempt to access the personal or corporate data, a person or an organization aims at bringing down a contender. It could also simply be an activity a hacker indulges in, where they access another individual’s computer system to extract data to defame him/her or divulge information about their personal or professional life. Being within the safe zone can be hard these days since the dark web’s eyes are always open to picking on any activity on the target computers. Here is a list of all types of cybersecurity threats.
Finding a foothold in the user’s computer is the task every hacker needs to complete to get easier access to the files, and this safe spot to begin is the malware. All forms of harmful software, including viruses, are collectively known as malware, and it gets attached to many parts of the computer, be it on the email or the constant pop up messages. Malware can go on to monitor all your activities on the computer, sending all confidential data to the attacker’s system. Although malware can be installed on the user’s computer with ease, it often requires the user to take the final decision or step to the installation. Certain downloads or links may have malware, which you might be completely unaware of.
This is a fraudulent scheme in which hackers install malware on the user’s computer by impersonating someone else. Every attacker has this on their mind when planning an attack on your system. These phishing tactics rely on such impulses in humans. As long as the curiosity remains within them, hackers will continue to find ways to fake identities to access the user’s computer. In phishing, the attacker mostly sends messages or emails as someone you trust, be it your colleague or friend. This is the primary action that leads to the hack. When the message seems legitimate, the user will open the message and download all attachments, which might be malware that seeps through all your important data.
3. SQL Injection Attack
Servers using SQL are targeted in this type of attack. Information is divulged using the malicious code installed in the computer. In the injection attack, any particular vulnerability of the code is focused so as to consume the whole system through that single entry point.
4. Cross-Site Scripting
A direct attack on a website’s users is most often a branching sector of cross-site scripting. Unlike in SQL injection, all the vulnerable areas of a system are targeted to take the site down completely in this form of hacking.
Apart from these four major types of cybersecurity threats, credential reuse, session hijacking attacks, and Denial-of-Service are also used to break into a user’s system.
Nowadays, everyone has a mobile device in their pocket or purse, and the world has compacted itself into those screens. With luxuries come certain risks, which you need to circumvent in order to remain safe. You may have accessed Wi-Fi at the airport or a restaurant in the last few days, meaning your IP address may be accessible to many hackers who can access the system connected to the Wi-Fi modem. No place is safe to be at considering the digital perils every device holds. Unless you protect your phone and data from being hacked, all your important information is at the risk of being stolen. Here are a few steps to help you protect your device against the attack of hackers.
1. Stop Accessing Personal Data When Using Wi-Fi
The key to securing your data is refraining from using your personal or financial data when connected to a public Wi-Fi. It is best to access all your bank details or confidential data when using a secure connection. Although not many users might log into their bank account for transactions through a public Wi-Fi, keeping this tip in mind is important.
2. Turn Off Everything You aren’t Using.
Several features on your phone can be used by hackers to get easy access to your information. It is mostly done using the location or connection details. So, make sure to keep your GPS, geo-tracking, and wireless connection features off when not in use. Turn them on in the public only if you need it.
3. Filter Out the Bad Apps
No app can be labeled bad unless you use it, but it can surely be considered untrustworthy. Look for all the apps offering the particular service you need, and download the best on the list. Go for sources that can always be trusted; also, keep updating the software regularly to avoid potential hacks.
4. Secure Your Device
You must always make sure to keep your device secure from any form of attack. The most basic preventive measure is to protect it using a password. Use security codes of at least eight characters, and add a few upper and lower case characters. Try to include numbers and other special characters and symbols instead of using the auto-complete features. Storage encryption must be used on your device, helping you protect the private data. Also, set the screen timeout to less than five minutes so that no one can access your phone easily.
5. Antivirus Software
Use an antivirus software of firewall if you do not have access to security software. Keeping this software up-to-date is essential to protect your device from being vulnerable to the attack of malicious content.
6. Don’t Trust All Links and Attachments.
Keep away from potential hacks by staying within the safe zone of internet use. Since no link or attachment can be trusted these days, make sure not to open anything of a suspicious source.
7. Trace Your Device
You can set your device to remain locked after a certain number of failed log-in attempts. This can help in securing data when you lose your device.
It is for an employee to maintain the right security measures to keep the company’s data safe and secure. Small businesses are even more vulnerable to cyber threats as they have fewer controls, making them easier to infiltrate. Even though your company has the best cybersecurity, your actions can play an important role in protecting or compromising your company’s valuable data. Even a single click on a corrupt link can result in a data breach. Here are the common cybersecurity practices that an employee should learn to stay educated about everything that contributes to protecting their organization.
Protecting the data
The first step to cybersecurity is to protect your own information like your credit card number or any passwords while you respond to any unsolicited email, call, or text. Learn what a scam site or a scam message looks like. Also, be cautious about sharing the company’s data or intellectual property on the internet when you are sharing the pictures taken inside your office on social media.
Use strong password and authentication
A strong password and authentication method will help provide a higher security level to your company information instantly. Create a unique password that a hacker cannot figure out easily. A strong password should be at least ten characters that should include upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. The company may also ask you to change the password on a regular basis. Your company may also have a multi-factor authentication present to access sensitive areas, which adds another layer of protection. It provides an extra step to access the company information, making it more secure.
Investing in security systems
The new businesses often forget to consider a security system while planning their budget or might hesitate to invest in a quality security system. Antivirus and malware detection tools, external hard drives, regular system checks are some of the security measures, to begin with. Companies who invest early in security systems have better chances of saving the company from possible financial losses and breaching threats. Every employee’s working device at the office or at home should have strong security software. Anything suspicious should be reported to the manager immediately.
Data breaches are not always an external problem. People who have access to sensitive information about the company can also cause leaks due to curiosity or personal intentions. That is why the organizations consider limiting the access of the customer and client information. If you are an employee that has access to confidential information, make sure that you follow the company rules about securing sensitive information. The companies should also monitor the third parties to protect their data. They should make sure that any former employee is restricted from accessing the information after they have left the company.
Cyber attacks are more common than they may seem today, from the most common phishing attacks to malware that can quickly expand and destroy a company’s information unless the hacker’s requirements are met. Cyberattacks can have different motives, but the security of the businesses and individuals working in it matters. With plenty of online threats that are available today, cybersecurity services are trying to provide the best software and education to protect a company’s valuable data. Here are some ways to protect online privacy and prevent hackers from breaching your information.
Understanding the threats
The most common threats for a company or a PC are malicious software programs that can damage the entire system. Throughout the evolution of computers, these threats, known as malware, have also increased. Some of the commonly known malware threats so far have been Trojans, viruses, worms, and bits. You must learn about them to identify these threats whenever they appear on your screen and request a download.
Learn the consequences
There have been many incidents in history as big as breaking down the governments’ economy and causing big organizations to pay ransom to hackers. But governments are not the only targets for cybercriminals. Innocent individuals also become victims of the scams and ransomware of hackers. It is important that you learn about the consequences of your actions on the internet, so you do not click anything that looks even a bit suspicious.
Spyware is another threat that one should be careful about. It gets installed on your electronic device and can track your activity on the computer or even your mobile phone today. It can also access your webcam and microphone if high-level spyware is installed on your device. Any information that you enter digitally on your computer can be recorded and sent to the hacker through this tool. Make sure that you do not click install for any suspicious software programs on your device. Some of the websites contain scripts that automatically download the spyware on your device.
Other common scams
The hackers do not always use the tools and malware to access your private information. There are many scam centers around the world that are working entirely to take the private information of people through scams. Today, the most common cybercrime is the theft of confidential or critical information. This information can be used to impersonate others on the internet. It is an identity theft that is difficult to control due to the unknown locations of the scammers. The scammers try to steal tax refunds, property information, medical services, etc. from innocent people. This data is then used for blackmailing people for submitting a ransom. If they do not give the ransom, the scammers threaten them to leak their information in public. Make sure that you learn in detail about how scams work and are careful in giving away your personal information to any agent, company, or network on the internet.
All activities that break into a computer information system to divulge confidential data are called cyber-attacks. When a network finds a weak link in its connections, it could be due to the attack. This waning of robustness isn’t conspicuous most of the time, making it difficult for the users to spot any irregular presence or unauthorized activity on the system. Stealing data from a computer has become easy these days, so much so that the world of technology stands in the murky zone. Let us look at the most common types of cyber-attacks.
1. Denial-of-Service (DoS)
When a system’s resources are swamped in such a way that it is unable to respond to service requests, the computer might have been subjected to a denial-of-service attack. A Distributed Denial-of-Service attack is also similar to DoS, but the attacker’s computer doesn’t install it; instead, the malicious content might be launched from other host machines infected by the malware installed by the hacker.
2. TCP SYN Flood Attack
The attacker exploits the buffer space during a Transmission Control Protocol, and the attacker will deluge the target system’s small in-process queue with connection requests. When the connection queue fills up, the target system will crash.
3. Smurf Attack
This is a process in which the target network is saturated with traffic using ICMP and IP spoofing. The targeted IP addresses will be flooded with ICMP echo requests, which would pass onto all the IPs in the range. As a result, congestion is generated in the network by overwhelming it.
4. Ping of Death Attack
The attacker makes a move to use IP packets of sizes of around 65,535 bytes to ping the target system. The attacker will fragment the IP packets since packets of such a huge size aren’t allowed. As the packet reassembles in the target system, the computer is likely to experience a crash or other functional issues.
DDoS attacks are carried out using a network of computers infected with malware, and this process requires botnets throughout the breach of a particular system. The target system’s bandwidth and processing capabilities are overwhelmed by these bots. Since these zombie systems are located in different geographical regions, tracing their actions would be almost impossible.
6. Man-in-the-Middle Attack
In this hacking session, the attacker inserts a system between the communications of the server and the client to extract important information. Session hijacking, IP spoofing, and replay are the various types of MitM attacks.
7. Phishing and Spear Phishing Attacks
In this mode of hacking, mails from trusted people could contain malware. Hackers might have the guise to impersonate the person’s online presence to send you the mail with malicious attachments.
8. Drive-By Attack
Insecure websites are targeted by hackers to spread malware into the PHP or HTTP code. With these attacks, the user might be directed to a webpage controlled by the hacker.
Password attack, SQL injection attack, malware attack, eavesdropping attack, cross-site scripting attack are the other common forms of cyber attack Australia.
Nothing can guarantee you complete security these days because technology is advancing to unexplored heights through devices’ bright and shady halves. The fine boundary between the dark web and the useful content could break at any point if you aren’t careful with your activities. You cannot expect to be safe only because you have a trustworthy software to keep your device from being hacked. As mentioned earlier, nothing is entirely impregnable. So, you need to understand the risks involved in the use of devices, and you must also be aware of the steps that can avoid cyber-attacks. Let us look at some tips that anyone can apply to their device.
1. Online Presence Should Be Realistic
You are always an attractive target for the hackers to venture into, and as long as you have a firm and frequent online presence, you are at the risk of being attacked. By storing details about financial transactions and your profession, your online presence is being further pronounced. The information need not be personal to be hacked; even business data can be stolen in the process.
2. Safe Online Shopping
One of the most common online shopping issues is the need for entering personal details, which is almost always a safe process. But if you decide to shop from anyone else’s device with your bank details, you might be stepping into a folly. Shopping on a network you don’t own isn’t the ideal way of purchasing items. Cybercriminals can copy and misuse your data. Make sure to transfer or pay using a safe network and employing strong passwords. You must also be careful about the websites you shop at and never feed your card details in an online shopping account.
3. Plug-Ins to Your Computer
Curiosity can be a great impulse when used for the right thing. When that feeling heightens to explore more on the digital space, you can end up in a rabbit hole. Be careful when you select sources to be connected to your computer. Connecting an unknown USB to your device could be one of the most ludicrous decisions since it can have hidden malware, which can infect your computer.
4. Password Protection
The most basic tip of securing your password is by being discreet with your actions. Anyone can easily manage to peep over your shoulder and steal the password, especially when you use less complex ones like 12345678. Before typing your password, make sure everything around you forms a safe environment.
5. Antivirus Is Required
Paid antivirus services are always better than the free version. Your computer may seem to be functioning well without antivirus software installed on it, but doing it as a pre-emptive measure will help you in the long run.
6. Keep Your Device Locked
Make sure to keep your device locked when not in use. Your data can be easily accessed when your phone is open to attacks. Setting up a password and an appropriate screen timeout can keep your system from being easily accessible by anyone ambling by the table.
The internet is becoming a part of your daily lives now, and our personal space is slowly shrinking down to our rooms without any electronic devices. The Internet of Things is changing the way how the appliances at our homes will work. While being connected to the internet and listening to our commands, these devices and appliances are also vulnerable to cybercrime. Here is what we should do today to protect our data from today’s potential cybercrimes.
Know your installed OS
In case you are buying a new device or changing your operating system, you need to know about your OS and who is providing it. When you plan on changing the OS, you will need a booting device and some space on your hard drive. Before you choose another OS, make sure that it is compatible with your device. It should also have updates security to prevent hackers from breaching your data.
Keep the OS up to date.
Always update your OS whenever it prompts you to do that. The OS developers release updates that contain security patches that help protect your data from any new security threats. Keep your device up to date against any new malware.
Review the privacy settings
The developers work every day to upgrade the privacy and security settings on their devices. There are also several tools available that let you check your permission settings, like the MyPermissions app. These tools can help you clean out space on your device and remove any unwanted apps or files from the system.
Install antivirus and anti-spy software
Many software programs today offer antivirus and anti-spy tools in the same pack. However, the experts recommend having a multi-layered approach with different tools running side by side to identify and eliminate threats. There are no tools today that can provide 100% protection. That is why it is crucial to identify all the factors before choosing the right security programs for your system.
Every OS today provides a firewall that most of the computer professionals feel manageable for personal protection. There are also third-party options available in the market that provide a level higher protection that the businesses may need. If you are running a business, find a firewall program that can be adequate for your budget and company.
Choose the right browser
While the maximum number of people are using the Chrome browser today to explore the internet, there are many other alternatives available as well. Mozilla Firefox browser is popular among people because it provides add-on security to the users for safe browsing. Also, keep your browser up-to-date to update your browser security.
Have good passwords
Compromising your password easily is the biggest mistake you can do to lose your valuable information. It is important that you learn good password habits and keep updating your password. Have a good password strategy, which includes many things. Exclude any personal information that can be easily figured out by anyone, such as your phone number. Use passphrases instead of words. Limit each password to only one account. You can also use password management tools to keep track of your passwords or generate a random one.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference will be back in 2017, bigger and better than ever.
In its third year, the Conference will again feature leading cyber security experts from Australia and abroad, to discuss the latest threats, mitigations and advances in cyber security.
What: Australian Cyber Security Centre Conference 2017
When: 14 – 16 March 2017
Where: National Convention Centre, Canberra
Who: CEOs, CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, ICT Managers, ITSAs, ITSPs, IRAP Assessors, Researchers, Risk managers – anyone with an interest in cyber security or connected to the internet.