More and more businesses, organizations, and groups rely on the web for marketing, advertising, and positioning their brands. With these marketing methods comes an undeniable increase in online threats.
According to Forbes, cyber hacking happens in all sectors, public and private. 2020 was the year of data lost due to breaches, cyber-attacks on individuals, businesses, and government sectors. Experts noted the impressive sophistication of these threats. Most made use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and 5G networks.
The use of bespoke apps designed by an experienced software development team can automate business processes, reduce costs, eliminate churn, and most of all, centralize and secure data. Many methods can be used to prevent cybersecurity attacks, let’s find out the most ingenious ways to do it.
Mobile Apps are Not Spared from Hacking
Most people think that mobile devices and apps are spared by cybercriminals when in reality, mobile applications are as vulnerable as web software and apps. In 2018, about 10,500+ malicious applications developed for mobile devices were blocked every day. Symantec revealed that 1 out of 36 smartphones have high-risk applications installed.
Smartphones are easy targets for cybercriminals to track the user’s activities and steal their personal information. As we grow more dependent on our mobile devices to perform daily tasks, we put our data and privacy at risk. Hackers can use the data they steal from your device in many profitable ways.
Hackers can track activities and steal confidential information for sale to companies. They can also put personal information out on ransom, sometimes asking for a fortune in exchange. According to a Norton report, iOS users enjoy better device security coverage from Apple but this is not a guarantee that an iPhone is impervious to attack. Some Android users reported an increase in the incidence of pre-installed malware on their devices. These adware and malware have only one goal: to steal sensitive data from users.
What Kind of Information Can Be Hacked?
Hackers are always on the lookout for ways to steal sensitive data from consumers. The following are examples of how criminals can take advantage of your information.
Credit Card and Personal Information to Take Out Loans
Hackers’ main targets are your personal information and financial information which they can use to open a credit card account. They can also use this information to take out loans under your name. Hackers need your name, address, birthday, and Social Security number.
After gaining access to this information, hackers seek to successfully open a credit card account or get approval for a loan they have no intention of paying back, severely damaging your credit score. With your information in their hands, they can do this over and over again, damaging your name, financial and personal security, as well as your financial score.
Claim Your Tax Refund
Like many others, you might be looking forward to getting a tax refund. Hackers are aware of your refunds and are out to intercept the money by filing a fake income tax return. Hackers who get their hands on your name, birthday, and Social Security number will be able to file under your name.
The IRS is aware of these illegal activities and advises people to secure their accounts. They recommend using a security software that comes with anti-virus and firewall protection. You should also learn to recognize if you’re dealing with a phishing email, spam call, or text. The IRS also advises against downloading any kind of attachment or clicking a link from a suspicious site. Never carry your Social Security card with you and always make sure that all your tax records are updated and safe.
Information To Cover Medical Bills
Hackers might use your personal information to get medical treatment. They can use your health insurance number and Social Security number to get medications, receive treatments, and consultations. This scam is sometimes undetectable, especially if you don’t often use your health insurance. However, when you do, you might find that you’re missing benefits or that someone has used up your allowable benefits! You don’t have any choice but to pay for your medical fees from your pocket.
Criminals Can Use Your Airline Miles
With your email and passwords at hand, hackers can book trips, use your airline miles, and redeem cash under your name. Airline miles are convertible to cash; you simply need to go to the airline website to sell your miles. To avoid these, use a secure password and change it regularly.
Creating Smarter Software Users
Software users can prevent data breaches and identity theft by making themselves and your system less vulnerable. Remember the following:
- Use a strong password with different characters. Don’t use personally-identifiable info when creating passwords.
- Visit only secure sites. You’ll know that a site is protected and secure when you find a padlock in the left-hand corner of the page. The page name should start with “https.”
- Always opt for two-factor authentication for maximum security.
- Always get a copy (hardcopy or softcopy) of your financial transactions. Always keep tabs on all your credit reports for any issues.
A Call for Good Developers
Data security starts during software creation. Software developers should adopt concrete strategies to reduce the number of bugs in their codes.
Using memory-safe language can prevent a variety of vulnerabilities, especially those that come from their software. Developers should learn about the usual software vulnerabilities such as command injection, buffer overflow, SQL injection, etc.
Software builders should regularly test their software, including test edge cases as well as sensitive codes. Available automated analysis tools ensure that developers cover all vulnerabilities. Developers should test all possible attacker moves for gaining access to the software codes, and design ways to minimize the effects of an attack.
If you’re a software developer, make use of sandboxed APIs to fully test the capabilities and vulnerabilities of your software. Whether you’re building a web or mobile application, safety, and user security should always be your main concern. Use a third-party audit system to test sensitive codes as much as possible.
For mobile and web software users, secure your identity and your data. If you think your data and information have been breached, reset your passwords, inform your contacts, reset your device, and run a trusted anti-malware app as soon as possible. You may not be able to save lost and corrupted data but you can avoid further threats, worries, and stress.
Pranjal Bora works as Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners.