Top 5 Ways to get Hacked in 2019

In this modern era of technology and growing social media activity, it is only normal hacking remains an overarching problem. In fact, the more common ways of getting hacked have become slightly more sophisticated, which usually spells trouble for potential victims.

Weak Passwords Need to go

Albeit it has been touched upon dozens of times already, the main reason why people get hacked is due to their own password practices. When reusing passwords – which are often easy to guess by default – consumers and corporations almost invite hackers to try and do their worst. It is good to see more people rely on password managers in this regards to generate unique combinations, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Reusing passwords, in general, is a bad practice. If a hacker were to somehow obtain one’s login credentials for site A, there is a high chance the same combination will work for sites B, C, D, and E as well. This leaves a lot of personal information on the table for criminals to exploit, which needs to be avoided at all times.

Phishing Isn’t Going Anywhere

When it comes to hacking attempts, phishing sites have always been very successful. Whether it is a fake banking website, an email provider being mimicked, or a duplicate page of a social media network, most of the attempts will always yield some degree of success in the long run. The reason why phishing is so successful is because of easy to obtain HTTPS certificates, a problem which has plagued consumers for some time.

It would appear the “rose phishing” approach is one of the more sophisticated attacks in this regard. This relies on criminals using social media to do their “homework” on potential targets. This also makes the phishing attempts seem more genuine than before, simply due to the nature social media networks make people less wary of malicious links being shared. While this method requires more work, the potential return on investment is also vastly greater.

Email Attachments and Shady Links

On the internet, people should never click on a link they don’t know or don’t care about. Unfortunately, the exact opposite has been happening in recent years. The same goes for email attachments which may seem suspicious. One’s best course of action is to ignore these altogether, yet it has proven difficult to do so. Especially in corporate environments, email attachments are seemingly downloaded willy-nilly in fear of missing out on critical information.

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The growing number of malicious email attachments has also introduced newer threats. Cryptojacking and ransomware malware is often distributed via email. The same goes for Trojan Horses and other types of malicious software deployed by criminals. When an attachment is present in an email, always verify the sender manually. If it is an unknown source, never touch the attachment and sent it off to the security team of one’s company. That alone should avoid a lot of problems along the way.

Outdated (Security) Software

One of the main reasons hacking attempts remain successful is due to outdated software packages being used. Whether it is a consumer or corporation, their software-based security is hardly ever up-to-date. It is a hassle to deal with updates which disrupt the everyday flow of operations, after all. Criminals will effectively look for older software versions and exploit security gaps to infiltrate computers or entire networks.

This does not just apply to computers either. Unfortunately. Software updates are crucial for all equipment which is connected to the internet, either directly or indirectly. Routers, modems, printers, USB-based devices, network drives, phones, and tablets always need to be kept up-to-date. For some devices, this requires checking for updates manually. Creating a weekly schedule to do so is no unnecessary luxury in 2019.

The SIM-swap Scam

One often overlooked way of getting hacked occurs through the SIM swap scam. This is also known as the Port-Out scam. It is a method during which criminals take over one’s mobile phone number to break into accounts protected by two-factor authentication. Since most people receive 2FA codes via SMS or a phone call, a SIM-swap scam can be very lucrative when pulled off successfully.

In the cryptocurrency world, this is a particularly worrisome hacking method. Numerous users have been locked out of their exchange accounts after losing access to their mobile number. Criminals can then drain their entire balance without too many problems. It can lead to a lot of concerns, including financial losses. As such, it is also one of the biggest threats to look out for in 2019 and beyond.

Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency.

JP Buntinx

JP Buntinx is a FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers, and he aims to achieve the same level of respect in the FinTech sector.

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