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What Is a Cyber Attack? Understanding What You Are Doing to Cause Them

November 2, 2020

People commit a variety of crimes, from white-collar crime to property crimes.

But one category of crime is often overlooked because its criminals are difficult to identify. It's cybercrime, and anyone with a computer can become a victim.

Cybercrime occurs over the internet. And according to new projections for cybercrime trends in 2021, the virtual attacks are not slowing down.

But what is a cyber attack? What causes an attack? How can I protect my computer from hackers?

We've answered all of your cybercrime questions below.

What Is a Cyber Attack?

Cyber attacks are performed by cybercriminals. It is a malicious attempt to meddle with or disable a computer system.

During the attack, criminals steal information, prevent people from operating their devices, and launch other invasions from the compromised network.

Examples of cyber threats include:

  • Phishing
  • Trojans
  • Malware
  • Botnets
  • Networking traveling worms
  • Unpatched software
  • Data destruction or manipulation

Victims range from small businesses to state government agencies. Essentially, anyone with a computer is susceptible to an attack.

During the infiltration, hackers gain access to stored data, which they use to steal users' identities.

In 2018, 29 million Facebook accounts were infiltrated by cybercriminals. The hackers accessed personal details, including the users' location, relationship status, and search history information.

What Causes a Cyber Attack?

How do cyber attacks happen? Most of the time, lax online security is the reason.

The majority of cyber attacks against individuals occur via social media. Poor password protection and publicizing personal details online make it easy for cybercriminals to infiltrate social media platforms.

Accessing personal websites via unsecured networks is another way hackers get into devices. Logging into social media platforms, emails, and bank accounts from shared or unsecured wifi networks make it easy for criminals to access personal information. 

Finally, insecure passwords are another prime cause of a cyber attack. Your password is the lock that prevents criminals from stealing your identity. But in America, 23.2 million accounts use "123456" as their password. Another three million use the word "password" as their password.

The simpler your password, the easier it is for cybercriminals to hack personal devices or networks.

How Can I Prevent a Cyber Attack?

While there are many cyber attack causes, there are also a variety of ways to prevent a cyber attack from happening. 

First things first, pick strong passwords. Use a combination of letters and numbers. For added security, change your passwords every three months.

Next, only use secure wifi networks. Do not log into personal or business accounts when using free networks. If you must use an unsecured wifi network or a public computer, log out of everything before signing off.

Make sure to install and update antivirus software on personal and business computers. All businesses should install a firewall on their internet connection to prevent hackers from infiltrating their wifi. Make sure employees are well-trained in cybersecurity and are not accessing company databases on unsafe devices.

Learn More About Online Safety

Cyber attacks can happen at any time and to any person or business. Take the right steps to protect you and your customers' information.

So, now that you know the answer to what is a cyber attack, how prepared are you to prevent one?

Our IT experts understand the importance of cybersecurity, which is why we specialize in helping businesses keep their information safe. Learn more about our security solutions now.

Our technological expertise and extensive experience allow us to work with virtually any system, enabling you to meet your specific goals and objectives–no matter how complex they may be. We pride ourselves on offering sophisticated solutions that other, smaller IT firms simply cannot offer, outfitting your company with a reliable support system as your needs expand and evolve. Alura Business Solutions provide services including but not limited to: Carrier Solutions Bandwidth Solutions Phone Solutions Wiring Solutions Client Access IT Solutions

Tags: Internet Security, Managed IT Services, Managed IT Solutions,

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