Unusual Ways Hackers May Try to Steal Your Data
The Internet revolutionized the way we live as with its help we can communicate, entertain, shop, and even visit virtual museums. Last year’s lockdown showed us that the majority of work operations can be handled online, not just a limited set of jobs, thus, encouraging more companies to digitize and shift their staff online even when the pandemic is over.
It opens opportunities for everyone, in its both good and bad meanings. With the increased flexibility for ordinary users, the Internet brings a huge risk, as with routine tasks moved online, scammers’ activity also underwent a transformation. They learned new and more sophisticated ways of stealing personal information.
Even technological giants with huge security departments suffer from regular hacking attacks, not even speaking of non-tech-savvy users who may fall an easy target for con artists by downloading a free episode of a new sitcom or log in to a fake Paypal account losing all the money that is in the account.
That’s why it’s better to prepare yourself and learn the basics of safe internet conduct through enrolling in cybersecurity courses and other online resources. The principles of how data is transferred, what is done with your personal information you share on the website, and how to avoid downloading malware and counteract social engineers are just to name a few of the topics that need to be covered.
So here we go some unusual ways that hackers may use to expose our data and use it to their own advantage:
Malicious Mobile Apps
As we live on the go bringing our phones everywhere, it’s a lucrative field for hackers. By developing malicious mobile applications that get access to our contacts, settings, call history, and geodata they can spy on the users stealing personal information from their contact lists, and personal media. Downloading applications from official marketplaces like Play Market or AppStore we mistakenly believe that we are safe, however, some malicious software may mask as a game, picture editor, or virtual assistant.
How to avoid: Security protection is not only something for PCs, mobile phones should also have them installed. Give preference to the official applications offered by companies that can be checked on their websites. Do not download cracked versions of premium mobile apps. Before downloading any application make sure to check what permissions are required, as it seems strange that an offline game needs access to the history of your calls and gallery permission control.
Hacking Smart Devices
Smart devices are getting more popular starting with usual smartphones to watches, security cameras, and whole smart home solutions that can run as one ecosystem at the same time posing a threat if they are connected to the Internet. Stories of robbing a casino by getting access to the smart aquarium thermostat or getting spied by your security camera are no longer scenery for a sci-fi movie to our everyday lives. If villains can get access to any device in the network, all data that come and go through it are exposed. Despite the fact that IoT is still at the primary evolution stage, it brings a serious risk if you don’t pay enough attention to security.
How to avoid: Protect the network where smart devices need to operate with a password both for wireless spot connection and the router, change the default router settings, regularly update firmware ( a basic hardware control solution), and have some monitoring systems like Fingbox to track the usage of your network and verifies the quality of your Wi-Fi.
“Innocent” File Extensions
As a rule, malware is hiding in the executable files like .exe or .zip and .rar archives, and no one expects harm coming from the innocent and well-known text files like .docx, .pdf, or .xls. Here’s where hackers can hide worms, trojans, and ransomware to steal our data. It’s done via macros – the series of specific commands and inputs to automate frequently used tasks. Usually, this method is used in the pretext of sending business contracts, partnership requests, or double-checking some important article. Opening such a file, the malware is executed on your device and infects it with viruses or encrypts data to demand money in exchange for getting them back.
How to avoid: Make sure to avoid opening attachments from people you do not know without prior scanning them with anti-malware. Also, disable the option to run macros from downloadable files by default. In Word or Adobe reader it’s also possible to set up warnings every time before a macro would run in cases when you might need to allow this function.
When email phishing is something that is pretty common, voice phishing also known as vhishing is met less frequently. It’s a social engineering tactic when a villain is impersonating a bank or other institution forging a phone number to get access to the financial details. Usually, a pretext is a fraud related to a transaction from your card or another security incident that requires providing the information on your end to confirm the identity, so that “the bank” can sort things out for you. When people see the familiar number and background sounds, it seems pretty realistic, thus vhishing scams are pretty successful.
How to avoid: Rest assured that no bank will ask you to provide the CVV code, full account or credit card number, and PIN, so whenever something seems off, or a person claiming to be a bank representative, do not hesitate to hang up and re-initiate the call on your end confirming that you use a phone number from the official website.
Free Software to Make Money and Boost Social Media Activity
We all want to increase the engagement of our social media pages and earn easy money, but the truth is, there’s always a price. And when it comes to “free” money-making software to earn new followers and likes as well, often it’s a scam that either eats physical resources of a PC to mine cryptocurrency for scammers or stealing personal data. There was a case several years ago with the social media application that was stealing login details of 100 000 users to build a giant social botnet. The case with financial scheme applications is more similar to gambling, you install some application, see how the balance is growing, and want to get the money to your account, but suddenly, it’s required to enter the CVV and give out the credit details ( and have them stolen), or pay a small fee for the transaction. And that is not even mentioning trojans and keyloggers that come along with such free software
How to avoid: Remember, that the free things may cost you a lot more than the paid ones, so think twice before installing any app that promises easy profit. Make sure to research it on google, as usually, after first victims there’s a boom of reviews. Avoid sharing the social media and financial account details with any third-party apps that are not officially authorized by a corresponding authority whenever it’s possible.
This type of attack is connected with session hijacking. When you use an unprotected network like public Wi-Fi, villains can intrude into the process of data transfer or communication and silently alter it. Both parties believe that they are exchanging information with one another, but in fact, an attacker eavesdrops on the “conversation” or data transfer and can easily still some confidential information this way. There are attacks like “evil twin wi-fi” when data is stolen by simulating the legitimate wireless access point leading to the attacker server or “sniffer attacks”, where malicious applications analyze the sent traffic and steal information from unencrypted packets just like the “man-in-the-middle” ones do.
How to avoid: Try to avoid using public networks as much as possible giving a preference to mobile internet. If it’s not possible, adopt a VPN or buy proxy when you need to access the internal working resources
What else Can You Do for Protection?
Apart from the specific tips, there are some general security rules that will help you to avoid the abovementioned threats and many others:
- Adopt a Strong Password policy and regularly change existing passwords
- Enable 2-factor authentication both for email and for all the accounts you use.
- Invest in a reliable firewall and antivirus scanner to block unwanted traffic and quarantine accidentally downloaded malware.
- Use only licensed software from official vendors or providers in case of using an open-sourced tools
- Update your OS and Software whenever a new stable version is released
As much as we may want to predict and prevent cybersecurity incidents, the mission seems impossible with new ways of hacking your account appear every day. But our security is in our hands, and we can adhere to these tips, and incorporate the best security practices into our everyday lives and encourage our colleagues, relatives, and friends to do the same. The only way to protect your online privacy is to make security health checks a routine, follow the tips outlined in this article, and stay vigilant!
What Internet Speed Do I Need?
Paying for an internet service gives you the right to inquire how much speed you will get.
Today, the internet controls our lives, which is why one must subscribe to the best internet service provider, such as Spectrum for a flawless experience.
It can be quite complicated to know how much internet speed you need to carry out every day online tasks. You may find yourself asking the same question repeatedly whenever you are planning to get a new internet service package or paying the bill.
It is not simple to select the broadband service plan which will be the best for you and your household. Multiple factors come into consideration, such as house size, people, area, online tasks, and so on.
In the past 2-3 years a massive increase in the demand for the best home internet service providers is seen. The primary reason behind it is the increase in work from homes jobs, and online schooling, which was started shortly after covid-19.
Keeping in mind all the crucial factors, you should go with the best internet service provider in the US. It does not matter in which state you reside; it is compulsory to understand your online needs as it helps you decide what internet package will work well for you.
When Should You Update Your Internet Plan?
Has your screen ever frozen while you reached the favorite part of your movie on Netflix? Or the web pages started taking forever to load when your mom started a skype call with her foreign friend?
These are the early signs to inform you that it’s time to update your internet plan as it is not able to entertain all the users in the house simultaneously. To help you see if you really need faster internet service, we asked the broadband experts working at the top internet service provider companies to get a better idea.
Bellow, you can have a look at what they stated to better understand when it’s the time for you to upgrade your internet plan.
What Internet Speeds Do You Need?
You require an internet speed of 15 Mbps or more to stream content in HD or 4K. In addition, you will need more speed if you stream Netflix on multiple devices at the same time. The same will be the case for all other streaming services, such as Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.
For Multiple Internet Compatible Devices
It is only obvious that you will be needing a much stronger internet plan if you wish to use multiple internet-compatible devices simultaneously. You may be needing such devices for various reasons like online streaming, gaming, live television, and so on. The ideal internet plan for the said case would have to be somewhere around 200 Mbps+. The perfect speed for data-hungry households in the US.
Consider Gigabit Internet Speeds
Those who are in the IT industry understand the need for a fast internet connection no matter what time of the day it is. This is why they should consider gigabit-speed internet plans for the seamless availability of ultra-fast internet speeds.
Know Your Internet Speeds
Using various online internet speed test websites, you can double-check if you are getting what you are paying for. If not, you can contact your internet service provider and discuss the issue with him.
Ensure to Use Updated Equipment
Not every time it is the ISP that causes the drop in internet speeds. You must make sure that you are using the latest and updated Wi-Fi routers, modems, etc. If they are not the latest or up-to-date, they may cause your internet speeds to slow down.
There you go, folks! I hope this post helped you realize how much internet speed you need to work smoothly on the web. We understand that deciding the right internet service provider is a process that is not as simple as it seems, but we tried to make it easy for you.
It is a good idea to have the number of devices in mind while subscribing to the best internet service provider. Moreover, we recommend going for the one that provides other services with the internet.
A Guide to Better Supporting Tech Use in Your Business
If you own a business, you might find that you are not supporting its tech use enough and that this is having a detrimental impact on your company as a whole, from its productivity to its ability to adapt to the future of its industry. If this is the case, here is a guide that will help you to better support tech use within your company in 2023.
Get a Stronger Internet Connection
One of the best steps that you can take to better support tech use in your business is to acquire a stronger internet connection for it. A stronger internet connection will ensure that the software that you purchase is able to run smoothly and that a great number of employees can use your internet and your computers without any issues, such as a lag in internet speed. If you are struggling to find a strong internet connection in your local area, you should consider looking at the options that are provided by companies like Gateway Fiber. They will be able to provide your company with a fiber internet and Wi-Fi mesh network that can help to propel your business into the future.
Get Plug Sockets and Charging Points
You should also ensure that there are enough plug sockets and charging points around your business before introducing a lot of new technology. Installing a large number of sockets around your office will mean that a lot of gadgets can be used at once and connected to the electricity, such as laptops and computers. Not only this, but charging points in accessible places will mean that your employees can use their tech non-stop without running into problems because the gadget they are using is not charged up enough. This can help to make technology a more integral part of your business.
Find a Great Server
It would help if you also looked around for great servers for your company. There are many different types of servers that you may need within your business. For instance, file servers can help you to store a range of documents within a digital space, and a web server will ensure that you will be able to gain access to webpages whenever you need to, and the best web servers will ensure that these webpages load extremely quickly so that you are able to complete your work tasks in no time at all.
Look for IT Companies
It would be best if you also looked around for external IT companies who can help you get the IT infrastructure you need and support your tech use as it grows. Finding external support is vital for those who do not have onsite IT teams or for business people who are not very tech-savvy themselves, as IT companies can ensure that problems are sorted out quickly, that your tech remains secure, and that there is a source of professional knowledge and information on hand at all times to answer queries and concerns. This is extremely beneficial.
Data science: The essential technical skills
Data science is one of the most important roles of our time. Organizing vast amounts of cluttered, nonsensical data into clean, actionable information is an incredibly valuable skill, which puts you in an enviable position for work opportunities. Data science helps businesses from various industries make data-driven decisions, increase profits and streamline their processes. So, if you’re thinking a career in data science may be for you, let’s take a closer look at what data science is and the critical skills you need to succeed in the field.
What is data science?
Data science is an academic field that combines statistics, computing, scientific processes, algorithms, mathematics, artificial intelligence and computer engineering to analyze vast amounts of data to extract valuable information. The information extrapolated in data science is turned into easy to understand material so businesses can use it to make data-driven decisions. Now that we know what data science is, what are some typical roles you might have as a data science specialist?
What does a career in data science look like?
There are many exciting career paths you can take as a data scientist, including:
- Data analyst
- Data manager
- Data architect
- Business analyst
- Data scientist
- Machine learning engineer
These are only a handful of the possible data science roles. There are numerous critical data science skills needed for a successful career in this field. One of the easiest ways to obtain these skills is through a program such as Baylor University’s Online Masters in Computer Science degree track in Data Science. This program helps students to develop the specialized skills needed to excel in the data science field.
Essential data science skills
The exact skills you need for a data science role will depend on what you do and where you work. However, there are some skills common across all data science roles, such as:
Programming is an essential data science skill and is a necessary aspect of any data science role. Programming knowledge is required to analyze and manage large amounts of data. Data scientists often have to create machine-learning algorithms to predict outcomes using data; so, a deep understanding of programming is required to complete them.
Programming languages to learn include Python, SAS, R and SQL. Python is one of the most popular programming tools in data science due to its vast libraries, flexibility and ease of use. Whereas SQL is used specifically for databases when working with big data.
All data scientists need a deep understanding of big data. The amount of data we have access to is only increasing, and working with tools such as Spark and NoSQL is vital when processing large data sets that cannot be handled with standard data handling tools.
Understanding machine learning is one of the most critical skills you need as a data scientist, and you’ll need to learn both machine learning and deep learning thoroughly to succeed in the field. Machine learning knowledge helps you gather data more efficiently and predict future data set outcomes. Types of machine learning concepts to master include: linear regressions, logistics regression, decision trees and random forest algorithms. These concepts help create real-time data processing algorithms, which increase the accuracy of future outcome predictions.
Statistical analysis helps you create machine learning algorithms. Statistics and probability are required, and concepts such as linear regression help you collect, interpret and organize data. Factors such as mean, median, mode, variance and standard deviation are all components of statistical analysis that you should learn for data science. At a minimum, descriptive statistics and probability theory are essential for data scientists.
Database management involves cleaning and organizing large amounts of complex data into organized, readable information that is categorized into patterns and trends. Doing this is often time-consuming but remains vital to making data-driven decisions. Database management, or data wrangling, as it is sometimes called, allows you to present data that can be interpreted.
In addition to the technical skills and specialized knowledge required to be a data scientist, there are some crucial soft skills, such as:
- Critical thinking
- Public speaking
- Attention to detail
- Effective communication
- Active listening
- Feedback sharing
Public speaking allows you to present information to stakeholders, convey your ideas clearly and show confidence in various professional environments. Empathy can help you understand how your information can impact stakeholders and the business. Effective communication skills help you work with colleagues, land jobs, make presentations to owners and share your ideas. All these skills won’t only help you in data science but in all aspects of your life.
Cloud computing is prominent in many industries and an important area of data science. Cloud computing can be used to analyze data stored in cloud-based platforms and provides professionals with cloud-based data frameworks that are key to advancing technology.
Data visualization is a key component of data science that is used to extract and represent data in a clear, understandable form. Taking that non-sensical data and turning it into charts, graphs, infographics, plots and animations makes it easy to understand for stakeholders and is one of the main ways in which you will communicate your findings to decision-makers.
Domain knowledge is also critical to relate your data to your respective field. For instance, you may specialize in fintech or engineering. Being knowledgeable in your specific domain will help you translate the data you analyze to respective stakeholders more clearly.
Data science is a highly sought after career, and learning the essential data science skills puts you in a formidable position for employability as you have the skills to help businesses to make decisions and succeed. You’ll use a combination of soft interpersonal skills and specialized data analytical skills, programming, domain knowledge, database management and machine learning. Together, these skills will prepare you to launch a career in data science.
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