What Are the Silent Hacks and Why Should You Care?
Did you know that today, one in four online accounts gets hacked? These include email accounts, social networking accounts, cloud storage accounts and more.
Even though it’s (unfortunately) easy to find someone who’s been hacked, there are still a lot of misconceptions about hacking and how it works. One of the more popular misconceptions is that the victim will know they’ve been hacked right away. But that’s not the case with “silent hacks,” which are becoming ever more popular.
With a silent hack, you’ll have no idea that a cybercriminal has access to your account and may be watching your every move. You may keep using your account for weeks, months, or even years without knowing it’s been hacked. Meanwhile, the hacker has access to all of the private information you may have stored in the account, and can abuse it in various ways.
Why silent hacks?
There are a few reasons why a cyber criminal may perform a silent hack. Here are the top four:
By breaching your account, a hacker can continuously dig around to uncover personal details like your full name and address, credit card numbers, social security number and more. The hacker can then sell these details to cybercriminals who use them to steal your identity and your money.
Your breached email account can be used for sending spam. And because your email address is legitimate, machines have a difficult time identifying it as a spam source.
CPC, or “cost per click,” is one of the most popular methods of online advertising. Advertisers spend billions of dollars annually on these types of online ads, which they pay for each time the ad receives a click. When a hacker has control over your account—especially one of your social media accounts, like Facebook, where CPC is a main income source for advertisers—he or she can create false clicks that generate traffic to certain ads or pages, and pocket the cash those clicks create.
Have you ever sent a work-related email from your corporate email account to your personal one? Perhaps you planned to follow up on a project from home, or while you were on vacation. This work-related information is golden to hackers. After silently gaining access to your personal email account, a hacker may scan it regularly for corporate information that was leaked from an enterprise. Employees’ private email accounts can also, in some cases, be the stepping stone that allows hackers to invade corporate networks, often by injecting malware into devices employees bring to work.
What can you do about this today?
Perhaps now more than ever, it’s crucial to take a hands-on approach regarding the security of your personal data. Fortunately, you can use a number of freely available tools to help better safeguard your accounts and personal information. Here are a few suggestions:
- Download a mobile anti-virus/anti-malware solution like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for your PC, and AntiVirus Security Free for your mobile.
- Never reuse the same password across multiple online accounts. Go a step further with your passwords and make sure you always use a strong password that includes letters, numbers, and at least one symbol (like an exclamation point or question mark). To keep track of your passwords and keep them safe and secure, use a password keeper like LastPass or PasswordBox.
- Use two-factor authentication on all of your accounts to enhance security.
- Stay on top of what’s going on with your most valuable online accounts using LogDog, which sends an alert to your smartphone any time suspicious activity is detected with your account. The service can be used across all devices and OS’s, so you’re always being protected. Here’s the Android and iOS links for you to check out.
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Feature image attribution: © Cristian V, Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/shyald/3194950746/)