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How to Protect Your Personal Devices and Data from Cyber Threats


    Due to an increased number of cyber security dangers, staying ahead of the game is more important than ever. Whether it's for your workplace or personal laptops, keeping up with the latest safety measures and firmware is essential. This ensures that your devices and software are up to date and that any known vulnerabilities are fixed. 

    Cyber Threats


    Types of Attacks

    Phishing aims to deceive you into divulging sensitive information like passwords, bank account details, or credit card numbers. Typically, phishing attempts come via email or messages that appear to originate from trusted sources. These deceptive messages may prompt you to click on a link, open an attachment, or enter personal information on a fake website. Ransomware, a specific type of malware, locks your device or encrypts your data and then demands a ransom to restore access.

    Biggest Data Breaches

    Data breaches have become a widespread concern in our data-driven world. With digital transformation, the amount of data being generated and shared has increased, leading to an uptick in data breaches. These attacks have the potential to impact countless individuals, with some breaches affecting hundreds of millions or even billions of people at once. While the scale of future cyberattacks is still uncertain, the high number of data breaches in this century serves as a stark reminder of the immense magnitude of these breaches.

    → Yahoo

    In December 2016, the company publicly announced a security breach that occurred in 2013. This happened during the time when the company was being acquired by Verizon. Initially, it was estimated that over a billion customer accounts were accessed by hackers and their data privacy was compromised. However, later it was revealed that the actual number of exposed user accounts was 3 billion.

    Yahoo clarified that this revised estimate did not indicate a new security issue. They assured users that they were actively addressing the situation by sending emails to all other compromised user accounts. Despite the incident, the acquisition deal with Verizon was still completed, albeit at a reduced price. Chandra McMahon emphasized their commitment to accountability and transparency, stating that they actively work to ensure the safety and security of their users in the face of evolving online threats. 

    Verizon's investment in Yahoo also allowed them to enhance their security measures through their experience and resources. After conducting an investigation, it was determined that while the hackers accessed account information, payment card details and bank data remained secure.

    → Aadhaar

    In early 2018, it was revealed that the world's largest ID database, Aadhaar, had been infiltrated by malicious actors. This breach exposed sensitive information of over 1.1 billion Indian citizens, including personal details, biometric data, and even bank account information. Surprisingly, UIDAI initially denied that such data was stored in the database. 

    The breach occurred through the website of Indane, a government-connected utility company, which had an insecure API that allowed unauthorized access to data. Despite reports from security experts, it took local authorities until the end of March to address and shut down this vulnerability.

    → LinkedIn

    This professional networking platform experienced a significant data incident recently. In June 2021, data related to 700 million users was discovered on a dark web forum. This affected over 90% of the user base. The hacker, known as "God User," utilized data scraping techniques to exploit API, along with other sites, and initially released a data set of hundreds of millions of customers. They later claimed to possess the complete 700 million customer database and offered it for sale.

    LinkedIn argued that although the incident did not expose sensitive personal data, it still violated its terms of service. However, the data sample shared by the hacker contained valuable information such as email addresses, phone numbers, geolocation records, genders, and social media details. This gives malicious individuals the ability to conduct convincing social engineering attacks following the data leak. 

    Main Steps to Follow

    You can protect devices and strengthen your passwords by using complex combinations for each account. Avoid using common words that can be easily guessed. Regularly change your passwords and securely store them. In addition, you should steer clear of unsecured websites that may contain malware. Look for the padlock icon in the address bar, indicating that the site is encrypted and verified.For an added layer of security and privacy, you can also consider using a reliable VPN service like VeePN for Telegram when accessing websites and online services.

    → Download New Patches

    Leaving your devices unpatched leaves the door wide open for malicious actors to exploit. That's why it's highly recommended to enable automatic updates for devices at home. Sometimes, an upgrade will require you to restart your device after downloading. If you choose to install the upgrade later, make sure your device is connected to a power source, as it may require a minimum battery life to complete the installation. 

    In case you have devices that are no longer supported by the developer and can no longer be updated, it's best to retire them. These devices can put you at risk of attacks by malicious actors. Don't take chances - safeguard your digital life by saying farewell to outdated technology.

    → Create Copies

    You can avoid cyber threats if you back your files up regularly to ensure the security of your files. Don't risk losing important data to corruption, deletion, theft, or disasters. By backing up your files, you can easily rebuild your system and restore your applications if anything goes wrong. Make it a habit to back up key files on your laptops. Use a secure cloud storage service or external hard drive approved by your workplace. This way, you can still access your files even if your device is lost, stolen, or corrupted. 

    Don't forget to do the same for your personal devices. Back up important files like photos, financial records, and documents to an external hard drive or secure cloud storage. This will guarantee that you can recover your data in case of loss.

    Avoid Public Hotspots

    Beware of the risks when using free Wi-Fi provided at public locations. While it may be convenient, not all of these networks are secure, unless you use a VPN free trial, and can be easily hijacked by hackers. They may create fake Wi-Fi hotspots to trick users into sharing their personal information. Ensure your safety online by avoiding saving login credentials and sensitive data on browsers, email clients, cloud services, or online platforms.

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