Danger in the Digital Age: Cybercrime Like You’ve Never Seen Before

It seems that as each day goes by, something crazier and crazier happens. With everything going on in the world, cybersecurity may not be on the top of your priority list— but it should be. There are trillions of cybercriminals out there who are using psychological methods to manipulate people into doing whatever they want. What are they relying on? Human error.

Phishing scam, hacker attack and web security vector concept

Source:123rf.com

In fact, human error accounts for 95 percent of all cybercrime, according to a study conducted by IBM. Now, I know you probably think that you can spot a malicious website from a mile away, but let me tell you, you’re wrong. Hackers are getting better at outsmarting even the best of us.

But the good news is (yes, there’s good news) that we’ve not only outlined the newest cybercrime schemes, but we also provide some great solutions to stay protected.

1. Phony Websites

What are they? Cybercriminals use phony websites as a way to download malware onto your computer or steal your money. From there, basically, the world is their oyster. These websites may try to sell you fake stuff, like electronics or Medicare plans, or ask for your personal information, such as your credit card or social security numbers. These fake sites are almost exact copies of reputable websites, making it harder, if not impossible, to sniff out a scam.

Hackers also target speedy typers by purchasing domains that are slight misspellings of popular websites, like goggle.com and yuube.com, to trick people into downloading malware and viruses onto their computers.

Upset young woman using online banking service

Source: rf123.com

Here’s the Solution: Guardio acts as a preemptive security measure. It scans every website you want to visit and blocks your entry if it detects a threat before hackers have a chance to download malware or scam you out of money. Since Guardio is a chrome extension, you’re protected on multiple computers, as long as you’re logged into your Gmail account.

2. Phishing Emails

What are they? Have you ever received an email claiming that your Netflix account is frozen? Or that your Amazon package is delayed? And that all you have to do is click on a link or provide your account details? Whatever you do, do not click on those links! Not only are more than 6 billion fake emails sent every, but 9 out of 10 attacks also start with a phishing email, according to Cybint. Cybercriminals use phishing emails to accomplish one of two things: to obtain your personal information (credit card details or passwords) or to download malware onto your computer.

paypal screenshot maleware

Source: Pinterest

Here’s the Solution: While some of these phishing emails may end up in your spam folder, hackers are always coming up with ways to outsmart your spam settings. Guardio works directly with your browser by blocking your entry to these malicious links, preventing you from handing over personal details or accidentally downloading malware onto your computer.

3. Infected USBs

What are they? USBs may make life way easier, but they can also pose a threat to your computer’s security. If your flash drive is infected with malware, it will not only infect your computer but also spread malware to every single computer it gets plugged into. Cybercriminals can then steal your personal and financial information, and even delete your data.

Close up of a woman hand plugging an usb pendrive on a laptop at home

Source: 123rf.com

Here’s the Solution: To protect yourself from infected USBs, it’s a good idea to download a USB anti-virus like Bitdefender USB Immunizer. Once installed, the program routinely checks for newly inserted USBs and prevents malware from downloading on your computer.

4. Fake Chrome Extensions

What are they? Hackers have also started to create Chrome extensions as a ruse to secretly steal your data. And I’m not talking about random extensions that were found on the web. I’m talking about ones that were added directly from the Chrome Web Store. In June 2020, malicious extensions were downloaded 32 million times, making it the most far-reaching Web Store security breach to date, according to Awake Security. These extensions may look harmless, but cybercriminals use them to take screenshots, steal login details, and even capture passwords as users type them.

Chrome web store

Source: Google

Here’s the Solution: Guardio’s Chrome extension scans your existing extensions and warns you of potentially malicious activity, while also blocking your ability to install suspicious extensions. The Guardio add-on also keeps an updated database, making sure that newly added extensions are always vetted before you download them.

5. Clickbait Scams

What are they? Clickbait is an advertising technique that uses surprising or outrageous headlines to lure people into clicking on a link. While clickbait tactics are used by legitimate sources (think Upworthy and Buzzfeed), they are more often than not used by cybercriminals. Malicious clickbait usually shows up as popup ads or sharable content on social media, offering free gift cards or cute puppy photos. When you click on one of these ads, you’re immediately directed to a malicious site that can infect your computer with malware and steal your personal information.

Guardio Screenshot

Source: Guard.io

Here’s the Solution: If you accidentally click on a malicious clickbait post, Guardio will block the malicious website from loading onto your computer. This means that cybercriminals will not have access to your computer or personal information. The Guardio Chrome extension also has a great pop-up blocker feature that blocks all of those annoying ads that show up at any given moment.

6. Existing Malware

What is it? If you aren’t using in-browser protection software, your computer may already be infected. While signs of an infection may not always be obvious, there are little clues here and there. Your computer may start running slower than usual, or your browser homepage changed without you adjusting your settings. Your friends may start receiving messages from your account, or your computer will unexpectedly crash.

Malware key on the keyboard

Source: 123rf.com

Here’s the Solution: To scan your computer for existing malware, try downloading Bitdefender. It’s one of the more expensive antiviruses out there, but it’ll rid your computer of malicious programs.