Get some tinfoil and an origami book: we’re talking about paranoia this time. The Internet is the world’s biggest library of knowledge, a utopia with no geographical boundaries, and a vast web of scammers and hackers looking to take advantage of you.

While that’s not to imply that there’s a literal crook peeking at you through your laptop’s webcam (fun fact: they can do that), it would be naive to assume that hackers only prey on famous people or big corporations.

The average Joe takes just as many risks going online as anyone. He may not have a few million dollars laying around, but he does have an identity, and he also has a few devices whose operating power can be used. It’s not just money that hackers are after — and there are quite a few reasons why being paranoid online might be simply common sense.

Phishing: Hook, Line, and Sinker

Good old phishing. Some things do age well, don’t they? Unfortunately, phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book — and it still works a charm. But let’s back up a little bit: what is phishing? Simply put, it’s impersonating trusted companies or people in order to extract valuable personal information — such as credit card numbers, and similar.

There are two main ways that scammers get their victims to take their bait: via websites and via email.

Phishing Websites

When it comes to websites, it’s a numbers game. According to ZDNet.com, there are 1.4 million phishing websites created every month. Often, they look exactly like the real website, except for a few tiny details that are easy to miss.

Scammers lure people to these sites via phishing emails or typosquatting (e.g. www.facebok.com could be used to host a phishing site that looks just like www.facebook.com).

They avoid being found out by only keeping the pages live for a few hours and then removing them. Unfortunately, sometimes you can get just unlucky enough to log into your bank when it’s been replaced by a phishing site.

There’s little need to tell you what happens next. Once scammers have your details that you’ve so generously given them, it’s easy to get away with all the money that’s in your bank account.

You do at least use two-factor authentication, right? While it definitely does not make your accounts “unhackable”, it is far, far better than simply relying on the one password you’ve been using for everything for the last ten years.

Phishing Emails

A lot of the times it will be the biggest and best-known household names that will be selected for impersonating. According to Webroot, the top five in 2017 were Google, Chase, Dropbox, Paypal, and Facebook. Apple, Yahoo, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Adobe also deserve an honorable mention.

So, do you have to be technologically impaired for phishing to work? The short answer is “no”. The long one is “no really, you don’t”. This is such a common scam simply because it works so well, and there have been many cases where tech professionals got fooled by it, too.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at this: last year it came to light that Facebook and Google had lost $100M.How? You got it: they believed emails and invoices from a giant Asian computer-parts vendor were real and sent the scammer money for years.

Malspam: Phishing’s Ugly Cousin

Malspam, or malware spam, is another classic. It’s exactly what it says on the box: emails that contain a nicely packaged malware. Even though this is far from being a new trick, it hadn’t gotten old yet. Everyone has an email address — so there are millions and millions of targets online.

This is why you should never download attachments coming from unknown senders — and be wary of those coming from your contacts, too. You don’t know if they’ve been hacked. Look out for odd/vague file names, executable files (never let these run), and do not enable Macros on the Office programs.

Of course, you can invest in antivirus software, but keep in mind that they do not work perfectly 100{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205} of the time. However, they can be well worth the money and the more precautions you take, the harder you become to attack.

Cryptolockers: Ransomware Is a Lucrative Market

We have already told that it’s quite easy to buy the Cryptolocker and that there are some simple pieces of advice on how to stay safe. However, there are still some details to elaborate on.

This type of ransomware (malware that demands a ransom) got a lot of attention from 2013 to 2014, when it first spread Trojan and encrypted its victims’ files. Unfortunately, while the ransomware itself was easy to remove, the encryption proved to be military-grade and a lot of people lost their files.

Of course, the scammers did offer to decrypt the files for a significant fee (they even gave deadlines), but really, there was no knowing whether they would actually do it. It is estimated that this resulted in a combined $3M loss for those who were targeted. Apparently, even two NASA computers were hit.

The success of this ransomware meant thousands of copycats. In the last year, the biggest attacks ran under the names of Petya and WannaCry — and they managed to cause a ripple offline by shutting down hospital computers which in turn caused pretty big chaos. Some people could not even get an ambulance, because hospitals could not handle the intake while operating completely non-digitally.

It is safe to assume that we are going to see more of cryptolocker attacks in the future, and they are just getting more advanced. Hospitals, by the way, tend to have notoriously outdated security mechanisms — so it is not to say that you cannot avoid being hit. Arm yourself with common sense, a good antivirus, and a reasonable amount of paranoia.

Thousands of Websites Get Hacked

Have you heard of the recent Facebook hack? It affected 50M accounts (if you’ve been automatically logged out, congratulations — go change your password), and that’s not even the worst bit.

You probably use your Facebook credentials to log into a plethora of other apps and sites. This was a goldmine for hackers, as they could now kill ten birds with one stone and take over — without leaving a trace — these third-party accounts, too. The real scale of this attack is still largely unknown.

If you’re wondering whether any of your accounts have been compromised, use https://haveibeenpwned.com to find out. A good start to making attacks like this harder for hackers is to never use the same password (and make them strong), enable two-factor authentication, and opt-out of the convenience to use Facebook or Google accounts for third-party services.

Sometimes, if a site gets hacked, it spreads malware instead — so don’t worry, there are lots of flavors to getting your accounts and data compromised. Really, you can get malware even from Youtube comments, fax machines, and Google ads.

E-Shops Are Bad for Your Wallet

But you already knew that, didn’t you? Well, as you might have guessed, we’re not really talking about your compulsive shopping habits today. But we can give you a good reason to do it way, way less than you’re sometimes drawn to.

If you’ve already got your tinfoil hat on, there is some good news: this is the one scam where your common sense might be enough to save you from disaster. Scam e-shops are simple fake sites that are looking to steal your money when you’re trying to shop — but it’s usually possible to discern that they are not genuine.

So, what’s should be your motto to stay safe? If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Look out for discounts that are just out of this world, poor English, and other signs that you can read about by clicking the link in the previous paragraph.

Don Your Tinfoil Hat

The idiot-proof way to never get hacked is to de-digitalize yourself completely. But in the modern world, that is simply not possible. Even if you do go offline 100{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205}, your data is already online and most of the services that you use (banks, hospitals, social networks, shops, you name it) have your info that could one day get stolen.

Being paranoid about that is, well, the antonym of paranoia (the unjustified delusion that everyone out there is trying to get you). So, instead of becoming a big ball of fear and anxiety, get educated. Know what’s going on and what can happen, and invest in reliable tools that were made to secure your digital identity and data.

Use services that take security seriously, and remember — convenience is your enemy here.

At ROKKEX, we take security extremely seriously and our crypto exchange is built on ‘Security First’ principle. We want to share our expertise with the broader public for the world to become happy, safe, and wise.

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