Surfing the Internet for information or just about anything, in a matter of seconds you can find what you were looking for. That’s why the Internet is amazing!
You know it provides endless information, you just need to search it.
A few things to do online:
- talking to friends or family
- learning anything for free or paid.
To sum it up, it’s a beautiful invention, which stands out for all of the rest of it’s time.
But… (there is always a but) – it comes with threats, disadvantages and high risk (dangers) for users. That’s why you always have to be cautious when surfing to specific sites, (I’m not talking about Amazon for example).
Let’s take one threat: malicious PC/Smartphone infections.
There are thousands of new trojans, viruses released on the web, on daily basis and even more people get infected with malware.
A 2012 study, conducted by researches have come to conclusion, 32% of users all around the world get some kind of infection. 20% of the infected users, don’t quite know how to use the Internet, correctly. They are being naive, in my opinion, clicking on fancy fake download buttons and even on malicious advertisements with fancy images and luring text. It’s like click-baiting.
This might seem pressing to some people, but there are always ways to protect your PC’s. And even ways to combat the threats, without the need to ask for software or people help.
Today’s article will cover how the Internet works, how to understand it, and lastly how malware programmers steal identity and money.
Types of Infections
If you scroll down, you will read what kind of malicious attacks are on the Internet from scams to stealing people’s identity and also compromising PC performance.
$1 billion in damages – let me start by adding that first – Ransomware was widely spread over over the last year, and people who made the different types of ransomware, earned that much – please note, I’m not talking about only 1 group of cyber criminals who earned that much. It’s easy to understand how ransomware software works.
Take a Trojan horse for example – that’s how the ransomware is formatted. Tricking the user to believe it’s a regular / legitimate file (.doc, .pdf, etc.). You can get infected by this type of threat via email, downloading the file from malicious websites and URL’s. (note: don’t hover over URL’s in email or when browsing the web).
A few more tricks ransomware uses are:
- job application ads
- using malicious sites to disguise itself as a normal download
Once a user opens the program or link, it’s activated itself, and starts to encrypt the user’s files. When it’s done, it asks for a large sum of money, to release (decrypt) the user’s files.
Please note: credit cards are not accepted by the cyber criminals who are actually the ransom holders.
Users are directed to TOR Browser.
There is a good reason why Tor is used: it’s to conceal the users’ identity and what he/she is doing online.
To sum it up: the malicious programmer can’t be tracked and the website cannot be shut down.
Lastly the users have to pay up the ransom in Bitcoin (An anonymous currency, used by hackers, cyber criminals, etc. – as, Bitcoins are hard to track).
This type of cyber attacks which are demanding users to pay up, are about $300 for 1 PC.
Fake Tech Support
It became a popular scam to get money out of users, because there are non-technical people on the Internet, who actually need help, solving an issue with their PC’s. They contact the fake tech support scammers via malicious websites or ads, unknowingly they fall for this scam.
It can be as simple as a Chrome pop-up, with a hook like this: “Your computer has a virus, call Microsoft technicians to fix the problem.”
There will be a phone number where unsuspecting users call; they are connected to a fake tech support person, who connects to the users’ PC. After that, the fake technicians tell the user to pay a sum of money, to get rid of this problem. Finally if the user pays up just to get rid of the PC issue, the fake tech support person just hangs up and the money is lost.
The scam rob users of $100 to $500.
A tip for our readers: It’s important to know and understand, the browser WILL NOT tell you, there is virus on your PC, at most it will only say there is an error. Nothing else. But not that you have a virus / trojan, please call +1 000 222 033 044 (what ever number).
Mobile Phone Attack
The risk with mobile phone attacks is real and it can work like this: website redirection even when people use browsers on their mobile phones.
A number of browsers have a safeguard against such attacks, but people still encounter it.
It works like a virus does. You get infected by installing a random app via Google Play store, then the malicious code activates itself after a few or certain amount of taps, the user makes. The user will be redirected to another site without a warning.
To be honest, it’s much easier to get out of traps on PC’s, by closing the browser or clicking the back button, or closing it from Task Manager.
Different story on a mobile phone: After the redirection, some sort of pop-up appears stating there is a Trojan / virus or even claiming the user has won a nice prize in cash or electronics. But this is all fake and you shouldn’t be fooled.
These type of pop-ups are urging users to tap on “Claim my prize” or “OK” button, which then the download starts. A malicious file which infects the users mobile phone.
The type of scams are endless, and are getting more and more advanced by the day. For example: we have reached a point where you cannot escape out of the pop-up. And the solution is to restart the mobile phone or open task manager very fast – which usually doesn’t work.
iPhone users are the new target. But Android users have problems too.
Researches discovered recently a bug which glitches Safari browser on the users iPhone, opening all sort of tabs every second, then slowing down the mobile phone significantly – it impacts the phone speed, not blocking the user from leaving or closing the browser.
It opens tabs in the background, making the phone unusable. Closing apps doesn’t work!
The only fix is to restart the phone!
Apple will patch this soon, but from my point of view iPhone’s are no longer that secure.
Adware and Spyware
Yet another issue. I am sure you encountered this type of malware. Ever downloaded a bundle software? – well the spyware or adware is attached to this bundle.
Take for example, Skype. When you install it, it offers you to download the Bing bar or change your homepage to MSN.com or Bing.com.
This type of issue is described as a dangerous piece of attack. It tracks everything a user searches and types, after that it is sent as data, back to the programmer who wrote the piece of software, in order to steal information.
It can steal anything, from online shopping, banking, online game credentials. Let’s not talk about usernames and passwords, which are stolen without the user even knowing it.
This is another unwanted thread, and it’s the opposite of Spyware. It attaches itself to browsers, software’s, etc… anything which has Internet access.
The computer or laptop slows down drastically – basically it generates money for the malicious code writer, by placing fake ads in your browser. And the scary part of all this types of threats is: they become more and more advanced by the day.
Take browser extensions / add-ons for example, which are very popular and easy to install / download. The malicious code writers create a rogue add-on or extension which places ads in the users browser.
There are many programs to protect you, the first step to take is to understand the basics of PC / mobile phone malware and infections.