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 as the internet are growing cyber threats have emerged and threaten our world online.
A person with malicious intent known as a Hacker, can steal your pieces of information, track our location, and take a screenshot of our face through a webcam. When hackers know who we are it was easy for them to lure you to there scammy activities.
But wait I’m now saying that all Hackers are bad; in fact, there are hackers that helping companies, they are called “White Hats”, but their counterpart– The black hats are the bad guys they 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.
Base on the records conducted by breachlevelindex.com all data records that were lost or stolen from 2013 to 2019 reach about 14,717,618,286 and still growing– malware and black hats are a part of this data breach.
No. of data records since 2013 up to this date Screenshot via breachlevelindex.com
What is an Online Data breach?
According to Wikipedia “Data breach is an intentional or unintentional release of secure or private/confidential information to an untrusted environment.” but most of the 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 are more prone to data breaches, in fact as stated in breachlevelindex.com 56.18% of the data breach is from social media platform and some of this 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.
Screenshots via breachlevelindex.com
More and more Malware each year
Based on the study conducted by McAfee there s 45,000 New IoT malware at Q3 and it was very alarming because now in 2019 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 on our devices.
What Are the Types and Kinds of Cyber threats?
To protect our selves from cyber threats, malware or hackers we must fully aware of the possible threats that we might face on the internet.
Having basic information from different kinds of cyber threats like malware, hackers and other internet thieves and how to prevent them are our greatest weapons, you know why??
Cuz its simple; internet thieves cannot operate without you,and if you know what you are doing and how to prevent them, you can protect your self to possible cyber threats online.
Image by Kai Kalhh from Pixabay
What is Malware and why it is one of Cyber threats that we might encounter?
Some other says malware derived from the French word malaise or sickness. but actually, malware is just short term for “malicious software”.
It simply means that any software or program with malicious intent and can gain unauthorized access are called malware.
Types Of Malware and Examples
Ransomware pop-ups in infected PC.Screenshot via securingtomorrow.mcafee.com
Ransomware is a kind of malware that often encrypts and lock files or even the whole device of its victims when ransomware infects our PC or devices, it will ask ransom money in exchange of 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 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 computer to prevent the user to access his own computer/device.
Basic History and information about Ransomware
The first ransomware attacked was recorded back in 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 disk 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 it’s victims for a ransom of $189 to recover their files back, the ransom money should be sent at P.O box at Panama.
The original messages of the first ransomware created by Joseph L. Popp. Screenshots via www.knowbe4.com
After the AIDS trojan in 2005 the ransomware brings back to life by hackers, they find that the ransomware has a great potential to monetized.
Today there are a lot of kinds of ransomware that bring to terror around the globe, but the two most popular and has are large impact was the CryptoLocker and Wanna Cry.
Datto findings that 71% of a ransomware attack is from CryptoLocker ransomware and 50% of attacks are from WannaCry ransomware.
CryptoLocker and WannaCry have the biggest of 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%
Real Estate 15%
Consumer Products 10%
Travel/ Transportation 10%
Os targeted by ransomware
Are you heard about the story of the Wooden horse used by the Greeks to defeat the Trojan?
During the war, Trojan army think that the Wooden Horse was a token for surrender, they bring the horse inside their wall and without knowing that the wooden horse has an enemy soldiers hiding inside, Trojans were caught off guards and they were defeated.
In computing, Trojan horse was a kind of program used deception and social engineering to trick or disguised as a permissible software, trojan because of deception and disguises many people falls as a victim for this 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 in the web.
Download and install other types of malicious programs on victims devices, such as keyloggers or ransomware.
Spyware: as from its name it is used by cyber-thieves and hacker to watch access online, enter credit cards detail and steals data.
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 Trojans used by hackers to infect and controls multiples devices, under hacker’s 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 its acts like 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 design to freeze or slow the performance or to flood the disk with a large amount of empty data, it can pose threats for files and mail servers. archive bombs can crash servers.
Basic History About 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, but behind the scene, the program copied itself into the directories where other users can find it, the game could spread for the entire computer, hence the program are 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 wreak havoc on the internet.
The two young programmers from the Philippines named Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman release the Trojans in the wild.
The trojans that they created is one of the most destructive cyberattacks in history at that time, and this trojan disguised as a love letter and spread through an email with a subject line I LOVE YOU.
Out of curiosity the innocent victim well eventually click what they simply think a love letter, but the problem is– it is not a love letter, but instead of a Trojan disguised 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 send 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 by 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 keystroke and logging, hackers used this type of malware to steals credentials such as bank account.
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 to its victims and often used notification to announced to the user that their device has a virus but in fact it hasn’t— it is just a simple trick to drive its victims on technical support scam 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 brings huge a amount of money for some people, hackers find a new way 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 as the most prevalent malware of 2018, the malware is designed to completely hidden from the users without knowing that their device is being infected and stealing its processing power for Cryptoming under the control of cyber criminals.
Basic Information Of Cryptocurrencies
The most famous and currently has the largest value of all the cryptocurrencies was a 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 the bitcoin has started to become popular, but during that time the value of bitcoin was still low, but not until 2017 when 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, 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 the new threat—the Cryptojacking.
Two types of Cryptojacking
File-based Cryptojacking: hackers used malware to enslave your device and to mine cryptocurrencies, when you click on an infected email it install 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 Cryptomining 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 It Affect Your device?
Crypto mining was used a special machine or device with high-performance CPU and GPU built for mining.
Using your own 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 in our devices.??
- A slowdown in device performance
- Overheating batteries
- Device become completely dead and unusable
According to Symantec Symantec Threat reports a device infected by malicious Cryptomining become 5-10X longer to start, Cryptomining requires a lot of power consumption and an increase on 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 on a scam, the attackers will send an email or a text message that their account had been compromised, asking to re-input their username, login passwords, etc.
For example; the victims were not aware that the website that he/she was signing-in 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 attack 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 Type Of Phishing Attacks?
These types of Phishing target a specifics person or organizations. It requires a pre-attacked and preparations from the attackers, the hackers scours 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 attacked that appears more authentic.
A kind of Phishing that targets big names like CEO and other high-rank officials and called a “big fish” steal valuable credentials and company information.
This type of Phishing replaces a previous 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 the early age that experiments of the phone line to have a free long-distance call, these people are called “Phreaks” a combination of a phone and a “freaks”.
The Phishing was first introduced from a paper and presentation on 1987 international HP users group, Interex.
The First Phishing attacked in the Internet
The first known phishing attacked dates back on 1990s, when AOL was the number one internet provider at that time, it was made a prime targets for hackers, they used software’s pirates to communicate from one another and the same time used Phishing attack 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 its victims, they also target online payments like PayPal.
The biggest Phishing scam happened in 2017 that used to trick Facebook and Google accounting departments to wiring money to an overseas bank account controlled by a hacker from a total of $100 million.
Industries 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, Payments services and even cloud storage.
Most Famous and first Worm created. Morris worm image
What is a computer worm?
Worms are kind of malware designed to replicate itself and spread to different computers, it uses the networks to crawl from one device to another and often used networks to multiply.
A Basic History Of Worm
Dates back in 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 wide-spread 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
- Often crashed
- Flooding the archive with junk files
- Can be used to create botnet or zombie network
- Delete files
- Open a backdoor
- Infects a single computer multiple times
How can you get infected?
From file-sharing networks: worm 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: the social networks are one of the potential infected by a worm-like what happened to MySpace infected by Sammy Worm.
Software vulnerabilities: worm 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 worm.
From an external device: an infected external hardware’s, USB stick, 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 effective forms of malware that brought havoc on the internet that can infect your device up to this days.
You may be familiar with a flu virus right? The flu virus can spread from an infected person to another. In computing a virus was a program designed to replicated 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, UK and other parts of the world.
How Can I Get Computer Viruses?
USB stick: Flashdrive or USB stick can transfer the file into your computer, but it can also be a host for virus unnoticed and transfer to other computers.
Malicious website: Porn site and other kinds of websites especially those from the dark web or deep web can be swarm 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 the torrent website there is a high percent chance of getting malware or virus.
Pirated software/crack software: Free is not always options 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 Virus To My Device?
- Slows down device/computer
- Delete files
- Modify files
- Steal information
- Record keystroke
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 Cyber threats or a malware that 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 preparation for a future attack like ransomware
This kind of malware can be attached to a device or a computer to records all its activities includes 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, username, and other valuable information.
- Records all your internet activity
How Do You Get Spyware?
- From Worms, Virus, Trojans
- Untrusted website
- Unsecured Download
- Pirated software
- Torrent Download
- Fake download links
- Unknown email
Spyware was design for stealth and hard to detect and often disguised as a legitimate app, spyware is every ware from email, software, and pop-ups. so beware of spyware!
How to Remove Malware And Cyber Threats? You can choose from this Anti-malware and Antivirus.
Best Antivirus for Android Click here
For the Best Anti-malware for PC, Mac Click here
Online threats have many forms from a 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.
Credits to our great sources: Malwarebytes labs, Kaspersky labs, Bitdefender labs, Sophos Labs, McAfee Labs, IBM X-Force Threats reports, Datto.com, Verizon Data breach reports, Symantec Research Labs, Breachlevelindex.com.
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a kind of malicious software that replicated itself using a host like storage, USB stick, or infected website to infected its victims and perform its malicious task.
What is an Online Data breach?
A data breach is intentional of unintentional release of information to the untrusted environment, caused by hackers or other malicious outsiders
What is Malware?
Malware is a short term for malicious software such as trojans, worm, viruses, adware, spyware or any form of software that performs unauthorized access to victims devices.
What Is a Spyware?
Spyware Is a kind of Cyber threats or a malware that 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 preparation for future attack like ransomware.