One wrong click, and a criminal can access your phone. Here's what to do when it happens to you

clicks | 6 months ago | comments: discuss | tags: cryptocurrency

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Every day, often multiple times a day, you are invited to click on links sent to you by brands, politicians, friends and strangers. You download apps on your devices. Maybe you use QR codes.
Most of these activities are secure because they come from sources that can be trusted.
But sometimes criminals impersonate trustworthy sources to get you to click on a link (or download an app) that contains malware.
At its core, a link is just a mechanism for data to be delivered to your device.
Code can be built into a website which redirects you to another site and downloads malware to your device en route to your actual destination.
When you click on unverified links or download suspicious apps, you increase the risk of exposure to malware.
Here's what could happen if you do — and how you can minimise your risk. What is malware?
Malware is defined as malicious code that will have adverse impact on the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system.
In the past, malware described malicious code that took the form of viruses, worms or Trojan horses. All individuals and organisations connected to the internet are vulnerable to cyber attack – and the threat is growing.
Viruses embedded themselves in genuine programs and relied on these programs to propagate.
Worms were generally standalone programs that could install themselves using a network, USB or email program to infect other computers.
Trojan horses took their name from the gift to the Greeks during the Trojan war in Homer's Odyssey.
Much like the wooden horse, a Trojan Horse looks like a normal file until some predetermined action causes the code to execute.
Today's generation of attacker tools are far more sophisticated, and are often a blend of these techniques .
These so-called "blended attacks" rely heavily on social engineering — the ability to manipulate someone to doing something they wouldn't normally do — and are often categorised by what they ultimately will do to your systems. What happens next
Today's malware comes in easy to use, customised toolkits distributed on the dark web or by well meaning security researchers attempting to fix problems.
With a click of a button, attackers can use these toolkits to send phishing emails and spam SMS messages to deploy various types of malware. Here are some of them: a remote administration tool (RAT) can be used to access a computer's camera, microphone and install other types of malware keyloggers can be used to monitor for passwords, credit card details and email addresses ransomware is used to encrypt private files and then demand payment in return for the password botnets are used for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and other illegal activities. DDoS attacks can flood a website with so much virtual traffic that it shuts down, much like a shop being filled with so many customers you are unable to move cryptominers will use your computer hardware to mine cryptocurrency, which will slow your computer down Infographic: An example of a defacement attack on The Utah Office of Tourism Industry from 2017. (Wordfence) How does malware end up on my device?
According to insurance claim data of businesses based in the UK,, more than 66 per cent of cyber incidents are caused by employee error.
Although the data attributes only 3 per cent of these attacks to social engineering, our experience suggests the majority of these attacks would have started this way. Instances of cybercrime are on the rise and experts are warning Australia could be left woefully unprotected due to a widespread IT security skills shortage.
For example, by employees not following dedicated IT and information security policies, not being informed of how much of their digital footprint has been exposed online, or simply being taken advantage of.
Merely posting what you are having for dinner on social media can open you up to attack from a well trained social engineer.
QR codes are equally as risky if users open the link the QR codes point to without first validating where it was heading, as indicated by this 2012 study .
Even opening an image in a web browser and running a mouse over it can lead to malware being installed. This is quite a useful delivery tool considering the advertising material you see on popular websites.
Fake apps have also been discovered on both the Apple and Google Play stores. Many of these attempt to steal login credentials by mimicking well known banking applications.
Sometimes malware is placed on your device by someone who wants to track you.
In 2010, the Lower Merion School District settled two lawsuits brought against them for violating students' privacy and secretly recording using the web camera of loaned school laptops . What can I do to avoid it?
In the case of the Lower Merion School District, students and teachers suspected they were being monitored because they "saw the green light next to the webcam on their laptops turn on momentarily".
While this is a great indicator, many ha...