It seems for the first time ever, everyday people are talking about encryption, security and private keys. It’s a dangerous world online, and now it seems more people are wising up to this fact. What caused this shift? I mean, aside from the constant bombardment of hackers and cyber attacks taking over the media for decades.
The answer, I believe, is the emergence of cryptocurrencies. People just aren’t that concerned about their other data. No one really cares if their photo album stored on a cloud service gets hacked...I mean what is the attacker going to get anyway, a picture of last nights dinner I just had to share on my Instagram!?
What cryptocurrencies have done, is allowed us to send, exchange and store VALUE. Now, I know to some of you feel that your picture albums are priceless, but to most protecting their money takes priority to their family photos.
For the first time since I can remember, people are talking about two factor authentication, strong passwords, and public key cryptography...and they aren’t talking about these things to protract their photos. They are talking about these security measures to protect their cryptocurrencies.
While I love the fact that people are talking about using password managers and setting up two factor on their accounts, I still think it's important to remember the basics for protecting our digital life are the same basics to protect our digital wealth.
Below I’ll break down the 10 most common security threats you should be aware of before you buy a single digital asset.
Malware - Short for malicious software, malware is considered a type of software intended to secretly access your device without your knowledge or consent. Types of malware include spyware, adware, phishing, viruses, trojans, worms, rootkits, ransomware and more.
Computer Virus - A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is installed on your device without your knowledge and is designed to infect and gain control over vulnerable systems. It then copies itself to spread to your email contacts and friends to infect their systems as well.
Keyloggers - Keylogging refers to using software to record everything you type on your keyboard. The program then sends that log file back to the attacker where they can now read any information you typed, including passwords, credit card numbers, emails, website URLs...literally every single stroke of your keyboard is sent back to the attackers.
Trojan Horse - A trojan is a type of malware that pretends to be something it's’ not. It poses as something helpful or fun while it is actually stealing your data. Trojans are often silently downloaded with other malware like spyware, adware, and ransomware.
Spyware - Spyware, like the name implies, spys on victims and is a type of malware that is hard to detect. It collects information about your web browsing habits, browsing history, and any personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers, and passes that information along to third parties without your knowledge. Keyloggers are a common type of spyware that monitors your keystrokes.
Worms - Computer worms are self replicating programs that spread through networks and machines and typically come from file sharing sites, email attachments and links to malicious sites.
Botnet - A botnet network is made up of a large number of infected computers that have been hijacked by malware to serve the purpose of the hacker who unleashed it by taking control of thousands of computers. Botnets are typically used to send out spam or viruses, steal personal data, or use staged DDoS attacks to bring down certain sites.
Spam - Spam is any unsolicited message that advertises a service or product...most commonly known as “junk mail”. Spammers traditionally target email accounts so their spam can spread, but lately we are seeing more spammers on social media sites, blogs and instant messaging services.
Phishing - Phishing is a devious attempt by a cybercriminal to trick you into revealing personal information, such as passwords or private wallet keys, by posing as a legitimate site or serves. Fake websites meant to pose as Gmail, for instance, “fish” for your login credentials.
Rootkit - A rootkit is a program designed to provide hackers with administrative access to your computer without you knowing. It can be used to remotely control your device and hides its presence on your PC usually deep within your OS files.
I know what you’re thinking….it’s a dangerous world out there. How can you ever defend yourself against all of these sophisticated threats? How can you feel safe and secure just checking your email, much less securing your digital assets on a device you have no idea whether or not has been compromised!?
Well, you’re in luck. I have put together a guide of the top 7 security tools I use everyday. These 7 security tools are free and open source and they come FIRST before I even think about password managers or two factor authentication or encryption.
The fact is, your encryption doesn’t mean anything if your device is compromised. Moving your cryptocurrencies off the exchange and into your desktop wallet may be a good idea, but not if your desktop is wide open for any cyber-criminal to access at will. Using password managers is great, unless you have a keylogger sending every keystroke back to the attacker.
Just click here to download your guide and secure your device before you buy or store another digital asset!!