Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report paints a frightening picture of our hyper connected world where it’s now a matter of when not if you’ll be attacked.
The comprehensive report has revealed a shift in the tactics used by cyber criminals with more sophisticated methods that target our many internet contact points.
One area where hackers have dramatically increased their activity is ransomware where victims are not being fooled but threatened.
Ransomware attacks grew 113 per cent in 2014 and spread from PCs to mobile devices.
Australia was actually the number one targeted country in Asia Pacific and seventh globally in this digital extortion.
A victim’s files are held to ransom and they are offered a key to unlock the content after they pay a ransom between $300 and $500.
Cyber criminals are also targeting your social media feeds to make it easier for them to not only fool you but also fool all of your friends.
Last year 70 per cent of social media scams were shared manually and showed how easily people are willing to share their information when they thought they were getting vouchers for Bunnings or extra frequent flyer points from Qantas.
The Internet of Things – the technology and connected devices making our lives and homes smarter – is also on the hackers’ hit list.
And because many people use the same password – whether it’s their health app or their bank account – attackers can expose all of your accounts by cracking just one.
To safeguard consumers from these online threats, Symantec has offered these tips:
Use strong passwords: This cannot be emphasized enough. Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts and devices, and update them on a regular basis—ideally every three months. Never use the same password for multiple accounts.
Be cautious on social media: Don’t click links in unsolicited email or social media messages, particularly from unknown sources. Scammers know people are more likely to click on links from their friends, so they compromise accounts to send malicious links to the account owner’s contacts.
Know what you’re sharing: When installing a network-connected device, such as a home router or thermostat, or downloading a new app, review the permissions to see what data you’re giving up. Disable remote access when not needed.