The 7 Ghosts of Cybersecurity
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but it is also "Spooky Season", with Halloween right around the corner. Most people are more concerned with ghosts, ghouls, and goblins than they are with the dangers lurking in the dark corners of the internet. Which is understandable, it's more fun to think about the fake monsters than the real ones who could change your life in an instant. So let's make a compromise. We're going to list the 7 scariest ghosts and monsters when it comes to cybersecurity, and we'll try to make it as spooky as possible!
1. Social Engineering: You know of Frankenstein, right? No, not the monster. The doctor who manipulates life, death, and science until he has engineered the monster. Well, that's also how social engineering works. The definition of social engineering is the manipulation of people to get access to confidential information. This malicious practice has been around for centuries, but has gotten even more effective in the Internet age. Cybercriminals experiment with different forms of manipulation on unsuspecting internet users until they've created their own monster to unleash. Sound creepy enough?
2. Phishing: While many items of this list are types of software, phishing is a specific attack method that can be used to gain access to your computer. Cybercriminals most often craft an email or text message that appears convincing and important but once interacted with (by clicking on attachments or links) could prompt you to enter login credentials or install software that is infected with malware. Imagine it as the story of Hansel and Gretel. They were lured into what appeared to be a wonderful and safe house made of candy, but ultimately fell for the schemes of a blood thirsty witch! Sounds a lot scarier now, doesn't it?
3. Malware: Malware is a broad term encompassing any type of intrusive software designed to damage computer systems. It has many different subsets, but malware is the umbrella under which they all live. Think of the Addams Family. Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, and Pugsley aren't the only ones we consider to be part of the family. There's also Uncle Fester, Lurch, and Cousin Itt. They're all individuals under the "umbrella" of the Addams Family.
4. Viruses: You know zombies are ugly infected beings that can spread their hideous virus to others with just a single bite! Computer viruses work the same way. Often sent to you by a cybercriminal, these malicious chunks of code spread from device to device, damaging the brains of your software and stealing your data! Gross!
5. Keylogger: This specific form of spyware can be extremely dangerous. Keyloggers allow hackers to see the keystrokes made on their victim's keyboard. This information could lead them to usernames, passwords, bank information, and other personal data. It's like the call that comes from inside the house! You may not know it yet, and you don't know where they are, but they're already inside and waiting for the perfect moment to make their attack! Just the idea of it send shivers right down our spines.
6. Ransomware: All malware is dangerous, but there is not a subset more directly harmful than ransomware. This code-based demon infects your computer by encrypting the data stored on the device and forces the owner to pay a ransom to get it back. These types of attacks can occur on a personal or business level. Think of it like the cursed TV in the movie Poltergeist. A curse has been put on your computer and it takes some very important things away from you. It fights to keep what it has stolen unless you are willing to lift the curse.
7. The Dark Web: The Dark Web may not be something that can infect your computer, but it is definitely something you should be scared of. The Internet we use is only the tip of the iceberg, with the deep and dark web taking up the rest. This dark and shadowy corner of the internet is where many attacks are launched from and where a lot of stolen data is sold. Nothing can be scarier than that!
There they are! Seven terrifying digital ghouls that will be haunting you for weeks to come...Don't let them frighten you too much though, not all horror movies end in total mayhem. Happy endings are possible when you call in some help. Take for example Scooby-Doo's mystery solving gang of friends, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren from the Conjuring movies, or the Ghostbusters. They all had solutions to the scary situations faced by others, and we have the solutions for yours!
So when there's something strange on your computer...Who are you going to call??
That's right, Fuller Information Technology!