Cyber security threats have been increasing in volume and impact over the last decade, but the digital wave that came through with COVID-19 turned the cyber attack trickle into a monsoon. While many people have heard of computer crimes involving phishing, malware, and identity theft, here is a look at 5 major threats to computer security in 2021 (and beyond) that you may not be familiar with:
By 2025, the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things is expected to top 75 billion, which is triple the number in 2019. People are becoming accustomed to their connected devices, relying on them to turn off the lights on a schedule or brew your coffee when your alarm goes off. However, insecure IoT devices are a hazard. Cyber crooks can infiltrate them to access your passwords, personal information, or financial accounts; even worse, they could gain entry to your home or business.
2. Social engineering
Social engineering targets the human to gain information and can occur through email, telephone, or in person. Sim swapping involves tricking the mobile carrier into believing the crook is the customer, giving the criminal the SIM card and access to texts, calls, and online accounts. A criminal disguised as a WiFi service employee is another example of social engineering, where an impostor gains access to your information through trickery.
3. Polyglot Files
Files that are valid forms of multiple file types are called polyglots. As an example, a GIFAR may be accessed as a GIF file or a RAR file; it is technically both. The security issue comes in when a file’s multiple personalities are used to bypass protection. As a precautionary measure, most applications do not allow certain types of files to upload, but a polyglot can sneak in a malicious file by presenting as a harmless one.
As photo, video and artificial intelligence technologies become more sophisticated, cyber criminals can utilize legitimate images to create a scene that never actually occurred. This is known as a deepfake. While most deepfakes are done for amusement, the level of realism that can be achieved with this advanced technology is concerning. Criminals could use deepfakes to impersonate someone for financial gain via blackmail or fraudulent identity verification; the possibilities are endless and frightening.
Malvertising is a portmanteau that combines malware with advertising. This cyber crime uses online ads to spread malware by inserting malicious code bits into legitimate ads. These ads are then shared on a variety of websites, where they entice the consumer to click on them and upload a harmful file.
Just like the rest of the world, hackers are continuing to ride the technology wave. A rise in technology use has given cyber criminals a buffet of options to infiltrate systems previously thought to be secure. These threats are not going away, so knowledge and awareness are critical to safeguarding data.
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