On Alert: 4 Critical Cybersecurity Threats to Watch for in 2020

Do you feel safe on your computer? We can all struggle with our levels of security on our machines given the level of cybersecurity threats in today’s age of technology.

As more and more of our lives are conducted online – from our banking to our grocery shopping and even the temperatures of our own homes – it is more important than ever that we get cybersecurity right. Cutting off the internet like Russia is not the answer!

But in fact, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are the top cybersecurity issues in 2020 and how to resolve them.

1. Ransomware

One of the key security threats in 2020 is ransomware or malware. This is where hackers send emails with links embedded in them to gain control of the computer.

These links are often sophisticated and take the form of Facebook links. They can claim that your account has been compromised and you just need to ‘click here’ to secure it.

They could even claim that somebody is trying to send you a message on Facebook and you need to follow the link to view it.

You should never trust links like this and should instead log in to your account with your username and password to try and find out if the messages are genuine.

The purpose of these links is to attempt to take control of your computer or account. Once hackers have control over your computer or account they can then blackmail you to get it back.

The blackmail usually takes the form of a monetary payment of thousands of dollars and it usually has a time frame attached.

Click here to learn about malware attacks.

Don’t Pay Up

Under no circumstances should you pay the ransom. It is counter-productive since there is no guarantee that you will get your money back even if you pay it.

To unlock your computer might take time and people operating ransomware scams operate like ruthless business people: this is time they could be spending scamming someone else.

But paying the ransom also makes you more vulnerable in the future as those who pay up are often places onto a list that is sold and passed around criminal gangs.

Sexual Blackmail

Another form that blackmail through ransomware can take is through sex. Using ransomware a hacker might not attack immediately. They might clandestinely take over your webcam and record you undressing or performing sexual acts to a partner.

Once they have this footage they can then use it to blackmail you, threatening to send it to friends and family members or to post it on to porn sites if you do not pay up.

These scams also operate not just through ransomware but through dating apps on your phone. Be sure you know who you are talking to and be cautious of those who are insistent you send explicit photos but do not want to meet up.

They can use the photos to blackmail you in the same way as ransomware.

To protect yourself against these scams, the best thing to do is to avoid opening external links unless you are sure they are genuine and to cover your webcam up when you are not using it.

2. An Inside Job: Protect Your Company

An increasingly common scam we are likely to see more of in 2020 is the insider job scam. This is where employees get jobs in companies and sell on private security data to hackers for a cut of the profits.

Sometimes the hacker might even be part of a gang and has sought employment at the organization with the intention of hacking, from the outset. The employee could then be given safe passage to another country, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S.

To protect yourself against scams like this it is important to run proper background checks on all of the people who enter your employment and to keep an eye on them.

Also, encourage your employees to report any behavior they think is suspicious.

3. Over the Phone Attacks

One of the biggest cybersecurity issues of recent times is the way hackers use telephone calls posing as someone from an authority or bank. They will often know the caller’s name and will address them as such.

When they attempt to verify the caller’s internet banking details they are collecting them for themselves to empty the account.

If the potential victim says they are unsure about the transaction and wish to phone their bank first – genuine advice from the bank – then the hacker can very cleverly stay on the line, playing a dialing tone to make the caller think they have made a new phone call when they haven’t.

4. Internet Service Provider Phone Scams

Another variant of this scam is for a hacker to pose as someone from your internet service provider. They will claim that there is a problem with your computer or network and offer you instructions over the phone to fix it.

The instructions are designed to install malware, ransomware or spyware on your computer which can be used to extract information like bank details.

They could even get you to disable important firewalls.

Cybersecurity Threats Are on the Rise: Remain Vigilant

Cybersecurity threats in 2020 are becoming increasingly sophisticated. From insider jobs with people pretending to work for a company when their only intention is to scam it, to using ransomware.

There are even scams using the phone where scammers and hackers instruct unsuspecting victims to install ransomware on their own computers.

Be sure to be vigilant and to be suspicious of phone calls or emails directly asking you for personal details.

If you are interested in reading more about current cybersecurity issues then be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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