Not every cyber-attack is a large scale data breach or ransomware attack. Even the average computer user is liable to encounter some sort of cyber-kerfluffle during their lifetime.
Wired wrote up a great article the other day that spoke to that and I thought it’d be a good idea to summarize that for you, dear reader.
The sneaky cybersecurity threats are:
- Rogue USB Sticks
- Zombie Accounts
- Untrusted Browser Extensions
- Bogus Online Quizzes
- Leaky Photo Uploads
- Smart Home Snooping
- Malicious Charging Cables
Rogue USB Sticks
USB sticks are handy. You can store almost anything on one. Even some fairly dangerous code. Ransomware and viruses can be configured make a mess instantly or over time.
It’s a safe practice not to trust strange USB drives all.
Kidding aside, a “Zombie Account” is an account set up on a service (social media, app, etc) and then abandoned or forgotten. Since we’re all more than willing to share PII data on any new, hip service that rears its ugly head, each of these “zombie accounts” is a time bomb waiting to happen.
The best thing to do with a service or application, once you’re done with it, is to scrub it completely of PII. But, since most people forget or fail to do that, an abandoned account can be a prime target for an attacker.
Untrusted Browser Extensions
Browser extensions are a dime a dozen. Some are incredibly helpful. Problem is there are a TON of browser extensions out there in the wild. A lot of those come from faceless, nameless developers. It stands to reason some of them may in fact be nefarious.
Bad browser extensions can do things like sell your browsing data, inundate you with pop-up advertising or even install additional software. It’s probably a better idea to limit yourself to known good-actors and cut out everything else.
Bogus Online Quizzes
Quizzes. I didn’t like them in school, I don’t like them now. The only difference being in school a quiz’s purpose was to find out what you know, now they’re a tool used by bad hombres to steal information from you.
Social media quizzes are used to create detailed profiles and that information is stored
Leaky Photo Uploads
There’s a risk anytime you upload a photo to the internet. I’ve talked about that before here (Is FaceApp Really a Security Threat?). Photos contain more than just some nice scenery and a few smiling faces.
I’m talking of course, about meta data. Facebook and Instagram will strip such things from a photo. Other services don’t. Metadata can include all sorts of things, including physical locations. Bad actors have been known to use it to help track down a target.
Smart Home Snooping
In today’s world everything is an Internet of Things device. Even our homes. We can control our lights, our door locks, our thermostats, all over the internet. As smart homes become more and more popular they become bigger targets for attackers.
One way around the issue would be buying IoT connected devices only from trusted manufacturers.
Malicious Charging Cables
Sigh, a good charging cable, never around when you need one…
Just like thumb drives (see above), third-party charging cables can come packed with some awful surprises. These cables can look just like the genuine article but can give hackers a backdoor into your device, simply by plugging it in.
The only real solution is to problem is using charging cables supplied directly by the manufacturer. Yeah, they’re often expensive to replace but it’s worth it.
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