You might wonder why you should be extra vigilant when you're online, but there are several good reasons. Below, we review some of them, as well as what you need to do yourself to optimise your online behaviour to increase your cyber security and awareness training.
The Golden Age of the Internet
More and more users are coming to the internet, whether they use it for online banking, email or social media - there are billions of people online. It also means hackers have more targets to hit in their cyber attacks.
You therefore need to think a little extra critically when accessing websites, connecting to WiFi and reading emails and text messages. These are the places where hackers often thrives, or, force themselves access to your files and personal data.
While many IT departments and security professionals are aware of the dangers of negligent online activity, employees need to be too. Employees are a company's best defense against cyberattacks. So if employees are not aware of their online behaviour, they can increase the risk of the company becoming a victim of a cyber attack.
A more recent phenomenon in hacking is typosquatting. In short, it is a method whereby hackers register a website that has a domain name similar to legitimate websites. For example, the hacker may have the website Goggle, instead of Google, or Moxxo instead of Moxso.
Hackers exploit the typos we all make - when we click on a typosquatted website, we risk having malware installed without our knowledge. This is another reason why we need to be aware of our online behaviour - even before we access a website.
Cyber criminals are getting better at their job, which is why we need to get better at not falling into their traps.
Hackers are starting to find new and creative ways to lure employees into the phishing trap. IT criminals are developing the different ways they can do social engineering. Using deepfakes, for example, if you're skilled enough, you can alter and manipulate faces and voices. IT criminals can then make videos in which they pretend to be someone else - and in this way trick people into thinking that it is, for example, George Clooney talking about a controversial subject. It just isn't him.
However, hackers still use emails and text messages to get people to click on links and download files. But that should be avoided.
That's why online behaviour is important, as you can prevent cyber attacks on yourself and your business. That's why it's also essential not to click on links or files in emails and text messages - you never know who they're coming from. Indeed, hackers have become so skilled at impersonating users that it would be impossible to tell the difference between the real and the impersonated user.
That's why it's a good idea to take precautions when interacting online, especially in your inbox:
- As far as possible, do not click on links or attachments. This is where the hacker hides the malware that gives them access to your stuff if it gets installed.
- Hover over links to see where they lead before you click on the link.
- Be critical of the sender's domain name - it's the little details that determine whether it's a genuine sender.
Cookies and the small print
Cookies are used to optimise a website and help its owner gain insight into traffic on that website. Cookies are often divided into different categories, allowing you to choose which you allow - and thus what data the website may collect.
Cookies should make it more transparent that your data is being collected - if you accept them. However, most of us make the mistake of just pressing "accept all" when asked if we want to allow cookies, without knowing what we are agreeing to. In this way, we also allow the website to collect a lot of different information about our actions on their website.
Personalised cookies use the data associated with your device and personalise advertising and content to you.
The value of data
One element to keep in mind at all times is the value of the data. When you understand how valuable data can be, you can also pay more attention to how you treat it.
Customer and employee data should only be in your care for as long as it is needed, and it should be handled safely and securely. Your company must follow the GDPR rules, which are guidelines for processing personal data.
The GDPR rules emphasise the importance of personal data and the processing of personal data. It can also cost your business great fines if the processing of personal data does not follow the GDPR rules.
Therefore, when you go online, you need to be careful about what you press and what you say yes to. If you press the wrong thing, you could end up giving IT criminals personal data - both that of customers and employees. Once hackers have the personal data, they can exploit the data, including by reselling the information, but also by stealing identities.
There are many aspects to keep in mind when it comes to online behaviour, as there are many traps you can end up in. Therefore, you are encouraged to be aware and critical of some of the emails and messages you receive. Don't let IT criminals get their hands on your and your customers' data.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler