These days it is likely that you are a participant in various aspects of the technology world. Therefore, chances are you are currently relying on multiple devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and other types of tablets to perform important tasks and to stay connected and informed. Furthermore, it is also likely that you have a large volume of personal and business related information sources on these devices that you want to keep secure and protected.
With that being said, there are just as many potential threats to this data that you will want to avoid. The following are 5 of the most common data security threats you should take into account as you manage the content on your many devices.
1) Public Wifi Access
There are many instances where we find ourselves having to connect to public wifi networks. Whether this is via the airport or your favourite coffee spot, connecting to public wifi can pose a potential threat. As it is, many of these public wifi hotspots often allow for users to connect to an unsecured network without authentication. As a result there could be instances where fake access points have been created by hackers in order to access information from any device that connects to it.
2) Shoulder Surfing
One aspect of data theft that may seem all too obvious, yet is also quite common is the act of ‘shoulder surfing’. This of course refers to an attacker peering over your shoulder to obtain information from your device or your keyboard movements. With camera phones especially, this data can easily and overtly be recorded by attackers if we do not take steps to protect our information. The types of information that can be stolen can be so personal as to include credit card numbers, bank accounts, and important passwords that can grant access to an endless amount of important details and can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Short for ‘Malicious Software’, malware can be another highly intrusive threat to your data. Malware can be encountered by users in a variety of forms. The purpose of malware, especially in the form of spyware is so cyber-criminals can spy on their victims information by viewing and recording every single keyboard action made by the users.
Other types of malware include, computer virus, worms, trojan horses – and root kits. While you may have heard of the first few malware formats, the later – root kits have actually been around for a number of years, yet perhaps less widely heard of thus far. In a nut-shell, this type of malicious entity operates as a collection of tools that are put in place by a cyber-attacker to obtain administrator-level computer or computer network access.
4) Email Spam
Fourth on this list of invasive data threats is simply known as good old Spam. Every time you log into your email account, it is likely that you notice some unwanted messages in your inbox – or junk mail folder. While the multitude of these messages can not only clog up your email account, they also have the potential to take up residence on your mail’s server.
While for the most part these spam-filled messages can be no more than an annoyance, it is the links that are contained within these messages that can present a higher threat. If you accidentally click on these links this can automatically direct you to another site that is poised and ready to install malicious software onto your computer.
5) Phishing Scams
While this danger associated with this last threat can also include spam messages, the act of Phishing, however actually refers specifically to the fraudulent email messages that are designed and personalized to appear as if they are authentic messages. Moreover, these messages may give the allusion that they are from real sources – even individuals you are very familiar with – and as a result it is not likely that you would not question their legitimacy.
In many cases, these messages can appear as banks asking that you click on the links and verify your personal financial account information. Phishing scams therefore want to lure email users into providing these details, thus granting hackers access to steal important data that can lead to a serious data breach.
All in all, it is important to first be aware of many of the potential threats that exist out there in cyber land. Of course, this information is not meant to scare you – it is however, meant to help computer and technology users take action and keep their data safe.
Whether you will devise a stronger password, enable some encryption codes, make sure to avoid situations where shoulder surfing and unsecured wifi networks are a possibility,- ultimately – knowledge is power here and learning when and where the most common data security threats can occur can save you a lot of unwanted grief that can occur at the hands of cyber-attackers.