Cybercrime Expected To Skyrocket as Hackers Target Personal Devices

When most people think of cybercrime, they imagine high-profile data breaches like the incidents with Microsoft or the City of Oakland. However, for every high-profile cybercrime, thousands of individuals have their data and personal accounts compromised by hackers.

According to the FBI, individuals lost over $10 billion last year alone due to cybercrimes. Just two years prior, losses were just below $7 billion. This dramatic rise in cybercrime proves that it’s not just big businesses that need to be worried about cybersecurity but individuals who also need to protect themselves.

There are several reasons why ordinary citizens and their personal devices have become a target for cybercrime.

Remote Work

Remote work has surged in the last few years, making employees a target for hackers. Since personal devices can now grant access to company networks, hackers will use your device as the path of least resistance. 

Of course, if they find any other helpful information on your device, such as bank account details, they will use it for a personal attack as well. 

Banking and Financial Apps

It’s common for people to have several banking apps on their smartphones. Whether managing personal bank accounts, trading stocks, or sending money to friends, these apps are a goldmine for hackers. Nowadays, accessing someone’s phone opens a trove of financial information. 

This has led to a rise in smartphone hacking using techniques such as cell phone number cloning. It allows a hacker to swap your phone number with a device they control, which gives them access to your accounts and password reset options.

AI Hacking and Social engineering tools

You’ve likely witnessed the recent advances of AI. Chatbots can now automate many of the processes that hackers previously had to do manually. This automation has allowed a single hacker to do the work of an entire army of cybercriminals through the use of AI automation. 

But beyond that, the latest technology allows hackers to create personalized emails and even voice messages that appear to be from people you know and trust.

How to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

While all these threats appear alarming, there are trustworthy ways to protect your data. A majority of cybercrime against individuals results from poor security practices, which can be easily improved with little knowledge.

Knowing key cybersecurity practices can greatly limit your risk of cybercrime and prevent your devices and data from being compromised.

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Using a VPN is one of the best things you can do to increase your cybersecurity. It’s also one of the easiest. A VPN is a service that encrypts your data while navigating in online space. VPN servers act as a security barrier protecting your IP address and other sensitive information from hackers.

You can think of a VPN as a one way mirror for your data. It allows you to access a wider Internet but hides your identity or location from potential hacking attemps. Setting up a VPN is also easy. Once activated on your devices, it can be used with an auto-connect feature which provides ongoing encryption without any additional steps on your part.

Password Best Practices

Many cybersecurity crimes can be prevented by following a few password best practices. This includes never using the same password for different logins. Also, make sure to always replace default passwords with custom ones. Finally, consider using a password manager. A password manager can help you create unique and strong passwords for every login and securely store them.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

While password security is important, there is an extra layer of protection known as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

With MFA, an app on your devices creates a one-time code every time you log in to a service. This one-time code is only valid for about 15 seconds. You enter the code along with your password to gain entry to a site. Without this one-time code, it’s impossible to log into the site.

MFA protection can prevent hackers from accessing your accounts, even if your passwords are compromised. Many services and platforms support MFA. To set up MFA, you can use apps such as Authy or Google Authenticator. These are free apps and can work on virtually any device.

Final Tips For Personal Cybersecurity

When it comes to personal cybersecurity, you can make a difference. Proactive protection of personal data can save you from financial harm and the hassle of dealing with a hack. Keep up with the best cybersecurity practices which are easy to implement. These usually take minutes, but can save countless hours of frustrations from cybersecurity attack that could have been prevented.