The Internet is an excellent source of information where we can find articles, news, journals, books, and other kinds of tools to widen our knowledge and skills; we can also find many tutorials on how-to articles and more.
The Internet can help us to connect with friends through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, it can also give some kinds of entertainment like Youtube, Daily Motion, Netflix, and more.
But behind the beauty and usability of the internet–a danger lurking at the bottom and waiting to strike at any moment, stealing usable information like passwords, bank accounts, and more the internet are growing cyber threats that have emerged and threatened our world online.
A person with malicious intent known as a Hacker, can steal your pieces of information, track down your locations, and take a screenshot of your face through a webcam when hackers know who you are it was easy for them to lure you to their scammy activities.
But wait I’m now saying that all Hackers are bad some hackers helping companies, are called “White Hats”, but their counterparts– The black hats are the bad guys who are responsible for some Data breaches, writing code of malware, and others cyber threats and attacks
Did you know that the year 2018 has one of the largest cyber-attack caused by Cyber threats like malware and hacking; Hackers and cyber thieves used to write new malware to help them to penetrate your system.
Based on the records conducted by breachlevelindex.com all data records that were lost or stolen from 2013 to 2019 reached about 14,717,618,286 and still growing– malware and black hats are a part of this data breach.
According to Wikipedia “Data breach is an intentional or unintentional release of secure or private/confidential information to an untrusted environment.” most data breaches are caused by malicious outsiders or hackers.
Social Media are Prone to Online Data breach
One of the Cyber threats is a Data breach and as the year pass by social media is more prone to data breaches, in fact as stated on breachlevelindex.com 56.18% of the data breach is from social media platform, and some of these data breaches were caused by identity thief— once people’s personal information is in hands of this identity thief they can monetize (sell) this info to the underground market place.
More and more people are using social media but some are not aware of the possible threat of social media.
Based on the study conducted by McAfee there s 45,000 New IoT malware in Q3 and it was very alarming because every year more and more people have access to the internet and a lot of transactions nowadays are online and which means that cybercriminals have to gain a bigger target and there is a huge chance of your device, bank accounts or our valuable information might be compromised.
Screenshot via Mcafee Threats reports
There are many kinds of cyber threats like malware on the internet that can steal pieces of information and brings chaos to our devices.
What Are the Types Of Malware?
To protect ourselves from cyber threats, malware or hackers we must be fully aware of the possible threats that we might face on the internet.
Having basic information about different kinds of cyber threats like malware, hackers, and other internet thieves and how to prevent them are our greatest weapons, why?
Cuz it’s simple; internet thieves cannot operate without you, and if you know what you are doing and know how to prevent them, you can protect yourself from possible cyber threats online.
What is Malware And Why Is It One of the Cyber Threats That We Might Encounter?
Some other says the malware is derived from the French word malaise or sickness. but actually, malware is just short-term “malicious software”.
It simply means that any software or program with malicious intent that can gain unauthorized access is called malware.
Types Of Malware
Ransomware pop-ups in infected PC.Screenshot via securingtomorrow.mcafee.com
Ransomware is a kind of malware that often encrypts and locks files or even the whole device of its victims when ransomware infects our PC or devices, it will ask for ransom money in exchange for an encryption key, ransomware authors will force you to pay and if the victim will not pay ransom money, they will delete all valuable files or worst they can even destroy its devices.
Types of Ransomware
Ransomware is notorious for many years and is one of the worst cyber threats that you might encounter, there are two types of ransomware cryptolocker and locker ransomware.
CryptoLocker ransomware: This kind of ransomware encrypts personal data and files preventing the user to access important files.
Locker ransomware: Encrypt the computer to prevent the user to access his own computer/device.
Basic History And Information About Ransomware
The first ransomware attack was recorded dates back to 1989 when a biologist name Joseph L. Popp– a Harvard Ph.D. in biology create the first ransomware. During the World Health organization International AIDS conference, Joseph L. Popp gave delegates 20,000 floppy disks named “AIDS Information”
Delegates are not aware that the disk is infected by Trojan, and after the computer reached 90 boots it will hide and encrypt the directories. It asks its victims for a ransom of $189 to recover their files back, the ransom money should be sent to a P.O box in Panama.
The original messages of the first ransomware were created by Joseph L. Popp. Screenshots via www.knowbe4.com
After the AIDS trojan in 2005 ransomware brings back to life by hackers, they find that the ransomware has great potential to monetize.
Today there are a lot of kinds of ransomware that bring terror around the globe, but the two most popular and have are large impact was the CryptoLocker and Wanna Cry.
Datto found that 71% of a ransomware attack is from CryptoLocker ransomware and 50% of attacks are from WannaCry ransomware.
CryptoLocker and WannaCry have the biggest internet safety threats in Ransomware history. Screenshots via Datto.com
As ransomware is one of the biggest Cyber threats, they have their prime targets, and below is the list of Industries targeted by ransomware attacks.
Industries Targeted by Ransomware
Construction/ manufacturing companies 38% Professional service 35% Finance/ Insurance 27% Healthcare 25% Legal 21% Non-profit 20% Real Estate 15% Retail 15% Education 11% Consumer Products 10% Travel/ Transportation 10% Architecture/Design 10% Government 8%
Os targeted by ransomware
Windows 99% macOS 9% Android 8% iOs 5%
2. Trojan Horse
Are you heard about the story of the wooden horse used by the Greeks to defeat the Trojan?
During the war, the Trojan army think that the Wooden Horse was a token of surrender, they bring the horse inside their wall without knowing that the wooden horse has enemy soldiers hiding inside, and the Trojans were caught by guards and defeated.
In computing, a Trojan horse was a kind of program that used deception and social engineering to trick or disguised as permissible software, it is called a trojan because of deception and disguises many people fall a victim to these cyber threats.
Types of Trojans
There are many kinds of trojans on the internet and here are some examples of trojans that we might encounter on the web.
Downloader Trojans: download and install other types of malicious programs on victims’ devices, such as keyloggers or ransomware. Spyware: A kind of trojan that uses by cybercriminals to spy on your device, it can steal your credit card data or any kind of data that is useful to them.
Backdoor: Hackers used these types of Trojans to create backdoors and gain access to your device and create their evil deeds.
Zombifying trojans: this type of Trojan is used by hackers to infect and controls multiples devices, under hackers’ control they can create an army of computers to be used in performing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
Trojan-FakeAV: Just from its name it acts as an anti-virus and reports threats for the user and extorts the user for payments, but the threats that they report are non-existent.
Trojan-MailFinder: It can harvest email addresses from the infected device.
Trojan-Arcbombs: One of the most lethal trojans designed to freeze or slow the performance or to flood the disk with a large amount of empty data, it can pose threats to files and mail servers. archive bombs can crash servers.
Basic History Of Trojan
In 1975 the first trojan is being created, written by John Walker, it was called the ANIMALS.
The program is asking the user a couple of question and trying to guess the animals that the user are thinking of, but behind the scene, the program copied itself into the directories where other users can find it, the game could spread to the entire computer, hence the program is not harmful and used for just a prank, but it was considered as the first Trojan ever created.
Most Destructive Trojans Ever Created
I LOVE YOU
In the year 2000 when the Trojan called I LOVE YOU wreaked havoc on the internet.
The two young programmers named Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman released the Trojans in the wild.
The Trojan that they created is one of the most destructive cyberattacks in history at that time, and this trojan was disguised as a love letter and spread through an email with the subject line I LOVE YOU.
Out of curiosity, the innocent victim will eventually click what they simply think is a love letter, but the problem is– it is not a love letter, but instead, a Trojan disguised as a love letter.
The user will think that it was just a normal text file. and opening the attachment file activated the script, then the worm will cause damage to the local machine, overwriting random types of files and sending a copy of itself to all addresses in the Windows Address Book.
The I LOVE YOU trojan spread throughout Hongkong, Europe, United States. The damages worldwide were estimated at US$5.5-8.7 billion and US$15 billion to remove the worm.
Zeus or Zbot
A type of Trojan that runs on a version of Windows Microsoft, it brings out a malicious and criminal task that steals banking information from browser keystrokes and logging, hackers used this type of malware to steal credentials such as bank accounts.
In July 2007 Zeus Trojan steal information from the United States Department of Transportation and in June 2009 security company Prevx discovered that Zeus had compromised 0ver 74,000 FTP accounts.
Zeus used tricks on its victims and often used notifications to announce to the user that their device has a virus but it hasn’t— it is just a simple trick to drive its victims into technical support scams and paying for nothing.
Trojans are stealthy and can penetrate our system by copying some legitimate apps or software. Beware !!
As Cryptocurrencies became more popular and bring huge an amount of money for some people, hackers find a new ways to earn money. They create a new kind of cyber threat designed to hijack different kinds of a device for one purpose– Cryptomining.
Crytojacking dethroned ransomware is the most prevalent malware of 2018, the malware is designed to be completely hidden from the users without knowing that their device is being infected and stealing its processing power for Cryptoming under the control of cybercriminals.
Basic Information Of Cryptocurrencies
The most famous and currently has the largest value of all the cryptocurrencies was the bitcoin, invented by an unknown person or a group of a person whose name was Satoshi Nakamoto and the author of the Bitcoin white paper.
In 2009 bitcoin started to become popular, but during that time the value of bitcoin was still low, but was not until 2017 that the value of the bitcoin raised an all-time high of almost $20,000 per one bitcoin.
During this time the number of Cryptominers increases and more and more people are driven to invest in cryptocurrency hoping to get rich quickly.
Crypto Jacking Become Lucrative
The popularity and high value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Etherium, Moreno, ripple, and other digital money are the rise of a new threat—Cryptojacking.
Two types of Cryptojacking
Hackers used malware to enslave your device and to mine cryptocurrencies, when you click on an infected email it installs a Cryptomining code or script on your device or computer.
Once it was installed the Cryptojackers started to make your device work and mine for their cryptocurrency.
Drive-by /Browser based Cryptomining
Drive-by crypto mining is not illegal if the owner of the web page is transparent to their visitors proclaiming that they can use the processing power of your device to mine Cryptocurrency as an alternative to the ads.
It is just going illegal if the visitors are not aware of its presence.
How Can CrytoJacking Affect your Device?
Crypto mining used a special machine or device with a high-performance CPU and GPU built for mining.
Using your PC running 24/7 is not a good idea, but if our PC infect by Cryptojacking and mine secretly in our PC or smartphone without our knowing what might be the impact on our devices.??
A slowdown in device performance
The device becomes completely dead and unusable
According to Symantec Symantec Threat reports a device infected by malicious Cryptomining becomes 5-10X longer to start, Cryptomining requires a lot of power consumption and an increase in the monthly electric bill will be expected.
And since Cryptomining is processor-intensive it can damage your PC and mobile device.
Often infects the same computer multiple times and caused the computer to slow or crashed.
Phishing was an old but very effective technique used by cyber-criminals or hackers to draw their victims into a scam, the attackers will send an email or a text message that their account had been compromised, asking to re-input their usernames, login passwords, etc.
For example; the victims were not aware that the website that he/she was signing in to was only an imitation of a legitimate website, but now it’s too late the hackers are now in control of your accounts, stealing your credentials and even your identity.
The above paragraph is just an example of a scenario that might happen to anyone that being attacked by a phishing scam, the Phishing can come from email or text message, we must be very careful on clicking an email because it might be hackers that are just waiting for us to get their bait. “Just remember to think before we click”.
What Are Kinds Of Phishing?
These types of Phishing target specifics person or organizations. It requires a pre-attacked and preparations from the attackers, the hackers scour the internet that matches up the information on their target from social media and other sites, once they got all the information they need, they tailored an attack that appears more authentic.
A kind of Phishing that targets big names like CEOs and other high-rank officials and is called a “big fish” stealing valuable credentials and company information.
This type of Phishing replaces a previously delivered email, the attachment or a link was replaced with a malicious substitution that’s disguised as a real one. It may come as a re-send or an update from the original.
Basic History Of Phishing
Phishing was named before the group of old tech hackers from an early age that experimented with the phone line to long-distance calls these people are called “Phreaks” a combination of a phone and a “freaks”.
Phishing was first introduced in a paper and presentation in 1987 international HP users group, Interex.
The First Phishing Attacked on the Internet
The first known phishing attack dates back to the 1990s, when AOL was the number one internet provider at that time, it was made a prime target for hackers, they used software pirates to communicate with one another and at the same time used Phishing attacks on AOL customers.
In the year 2000 social networking sites become a prime target for hackers they used social networks to steal valuable information from their victims, and they also target online payments like PayPal.
The biggest Phishing scam happened in 2017 that used to trick Facebook and Google accounting departments into wiring money to an overseas bank account controlled by a hacker for a total of $100 million.
Industries are often targeted by Phishing. Screenshots via Phishlabs.com
Based on the reports conducted by Phishlab industries often targeted by Phishers are Email/Online services followed by financial, Payment services, and even cloud storage.
Most Famous and first Worm created. Morris worm image
What is a Computer worm?
Worms are a kind of malware designed to replicate itself and spread to different computers, it uses networks to crawl from one device to another and often used networks to multiply.
A Basic History Of Worm
Dates back to 1988 when a computer science student at Harvard University create a self-replicating program intended to measure the size of the internet, but a miscalculation of Robert Morris make the program replicate more quickly than expected and cause a widespread Denial of service (DDoS). The Morris worm infected thousands of computers at that time.
Worm Effects On a Device/Computer
Slow performance of infected computer
Flooding the archive with junk files
Can be used to create a botnet or zombie network
Open a backdoor
Infects a single computer multiple times
How Can you get Infected by Worm Malware?
From file-sharing networks: worms can infect the files sharing directory and spread to other computers or devices connected to the network.
From email: the worm can infect victims through emails like the I LOVE YOU Trojans that infect millions of Windows computers.
From social networks: social networks are one of the potential infected by a worm-like what happened to MySpace infected by Sammy Worm.
Software vulnerabilities: Worms can be used to detect software vulnerabilities or security holes one example is the Morris worm.
From infected sites: a malicious site can often be controlled by a hacker and has a lot of malware including worms.
From an external device: infected external hardware, USB sticks, SD cards, or even a phone memory can be used to spread the worm.
From messenger: like emails, the messenger can also be infected by worms and spread through Text messages.
A worm was one of the earliest and most effective forms of malware that brought havoc on the internet that can infect your device up to this day.
You may be familiar with the flu virus right? The flu virus can spread from one infected person to another. In computing a virus was a program designed to replicate and spread itself from one device to another, it uses an infected file as a host to spread itself to other victims.
Basic History Of Computer Virus
Way back in 1960 when the first computer virus was created– called Brain, two Pakistani brothers named Amjad Farooq Alvi and Basit Farooq Ali write the first virus intended to teach a lesson to their customers that pirates a copy of their software.
The virus was not designed to cause harm to a computer but to prevent the user from using pirated programs, the virus includes their address and phone no. and a message that their machine was infected and need to contact them for vaccination.
They didn’t expect that the computer virus they have created where spread on Us, the UK, and other parts of the world.
How Can You Get Infected by Computer Virus?
USB stick: Flashdrive or USB stick can transfer the file to your computer, but it can also be a host for viruses unnoticed and transfer to other computers.
Malicious websites: Porn sites and other kinds of websites especially those from the dark web or deep web can be swarmed with different kinds of malware including viruses.
Unsecured download: the torrent site was reported for having lots of malware including viruses. When downloading content from a torrent website there is a high percent chance of getting malware or virus.
Pirated software/crack software: Free is not always an option since pirated software is not from a legitimate source this might include malware or virus that may slow down your device and even spy on you.
What Are the Effects of Computer Virus On Your Device?
Slows down device/computer
A virus is one of the oldest and most popular kinds of malware but still has a potential threat even today.
What Is a Spyware?
Spyware Is a kind of Cyberthreat or malware that is often used to spy on its victim, cybercriminals used this kind of malware for an initial attack, to know more about its victims, and to prepare for a future attack like ransomware
This kind of malware can be attached to a device or a computer to record all its activities including browser history, passwords, bank accounts, or other sensitive information that identity thieves need to know about its victims.
What Are The Harmful Effects of Spyware?
Spyware can use your computer resources and slows down or often crash your computer.
It can be used to send some other malware on your computer like ransomware.
Steal some important information like browser history, passwords, usernames, and other valuable information.
Records all your internet activity
How can you get Infected by Spyware?
From Worms, viruses, Trojans
Fake download links
Spyware was designed for stealth and is hard to detect and often disguised as a legitimate app, spyware is every ware from email, software, and pop-ups. so beware of spyware!
Online threats have many forms from data breach, malware and exploits; and threat awareness and knowledge are some of our greatest weapons that are why I decide to have some in-depth explanations about possible internet safety threats we might face.
And the use of reliable safety tools such as VPN, anti-malware, and firewalls to provide better protection to our device, and always remember to think before you click.