In today’s digital age, cybersecurity threats are a real concern for individuals and businesses alike. While technology has brought about many conveniences, it has also opened up new avenues for cybercriminals to exploit. For this reason, it’s important to have some understanding of essential cybersecurity terms to help protect you and your business. In this article, we’ll delve into 10 cybersecurity terms you need to know. We’ll be breaking down each term and explaining how it plays a role in keeping your digital life secure.
Malware is a catch-all term for any type of malicious type of software designed to harm a computer system or network. It can be introduced to a system through avenues such as email attachments, software downloads, or infected websites. Three common malwares are viruses, trojan horses, and spyware.
- Viruses are programs that attach themselves to other files and replicate themselves.
- Trojan horses are programs that masquerade as legitimate software but are designed to do harm to the system.
- Spyware is software that secretly monitors the user’s activities and sends the information to a third party.
Protecting against malware involves installing and regularly updating antivirus software. Antivirus software can detect and remove known malware and can also prevent new malware from infecting the system. It’s also important to avoid downloading or opening suspicious files or emails.
2. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is a security process that requires two forms of identification in order to access a system or account. It typically involves the use of a password and a second factor. This could be a fingerprint, or a one-time code sent to a mobile device.
2FA adds an extra layer of security to accounts, helping prevent unauthorised access, even if a password is compromised. It’s an important tool for protecting sensitive information and preventing cybercriminals from gaining access to accounts and systems.
3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private network (VPN) allows users to securely connect to a private network over a public network, such as the internet. VPNs are commonly used to provide secure remote access to corporate networks or to protect personal information while using public Wi-Fi. They work by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between the user’s device and the network. This tunnel ensures that sensitive data transmitted over the network is protected from unauthorised access.
VPNs are an important tool for protecting sensitive data and ensuring privacy online. They are commonly used by businesses and individuals to protect against cyberattacks and data theft.
Phishing is a common type of social engineering attack in which cybercriminals attempt to steal sensitive information. This may include the theft of passwords and credit card numbers, by posing as a trustworthy entity. Phishing attacks typically involve sending emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or government agency, but are actually fraudulent.
Phishing emails often contain urgent or threatening messages that prompt the recipient to click a link or enter their login credentials. The link may lead to a fake login page that captures the user’s information, or it may install malware on the user’s computer.
To avoid falling victim to phishing attacks, it’s important to be wary of unsolicited emails or messages that ask for personal information. Always verify the legitimacy of the sender and avoid clicking links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
Spoofing is a technique used by cybercriminals to disguise their identity and gain access to sensitive information. This can involve creating fake websites or emails that appear to be from a trusted source, or using a spoofed IP address to hide their location. Spoofing attacks can be difficult to detect, as they often rely on social engineering tactics to trick victims into revealing their login credentials or other sensitive information.
To protect yourself from spoofing attacks, be wary of emails or websites that ask for sensitive information, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. Use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts, and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Additionally, use a reputable antivirus software and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from untrusted sources.
Pretexting is a type of social engineering attack that involves deceiving a victim into revealing sensitive information by pretending to be someone else. This can involve creating a fake identity or impersonating a trusted authority figure, such as a bank employee or a government official. Pretexting attacks often rely on the victim’s trust and willingness to help, and can be difficult to detect.
To protect yourself from pretexting attacks, always verify the identity of anyone who asks for sensitive information, even if they appear to be a trusted authority figure. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls or emails that ask for personal information. Additionally, never give out sensitive information unless you are certain of the person’s identity. If you receive a suspicious request, contact the organisation directly to verify the request before providing any information.
7. Zero-click Attack
The zero-click attack is a sophisticated cyberattack that requires no interaction from the victim. It’s an attack that exploits a vulnerability in the software or hardware of a device to gain access to it. This type of attack can be carried out remotely by the attacker, and the victim may not even be aware that their device has been compromised.
To protect yourself from zero-click attacks, it’s important to keep your devices and software up to date with the latest security patches. Also, be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
8. Shoulder Surfing
Shoulder surfing is a type of cyberattack where an attacker looks over your shoulder to steal sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal data. This type of attack can happen anywhere, from a coffee shop to an ATM machine.
One way to protect yourself from shoulder surfing is to be aware of your surroundings and keep your devices and information out of sight from prying eyes. Also, make sure to use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts, and avoid writing them down or sharing them with anyone. Another way to protect yourself from shoulder surfing is to use privacy screens or filters on your devices. These screens make it difficult for anyone to see what’s on your screen unless they are directly in front of it.
By being aware of these cybersecurity terms can help you to prevent cyberattacks and keep your data secure. Remember to always stay vigilant and keep your devices and software up to date. Have any questions or would like to learn more? Please contact a member of our team today to see how Saxons IT can support your business.