Many of today’s cyberhackers are smarter than we give them credit for. Year after year, fraudsters find new and crafty methods to manipulate not only our computers and smartphones, but even hi-tech appliances like our digital home devices, Wi-Fi routers, and security systems. While it has always been important to practice proper safety measures in general, it is key to stay up to date on the various new ways in which identities can be stolen and information can be obtained.
Keylogging — short for keystroke logging — is the action of recording specific keys touched on a keyboard, whether physical or on a touchscreen. The user is typically completely unaware that these actions are being monitored by the program operator.
Keylogging was initially invented as an IT solution for troubleshooting technical issues with typewriters, eventually evolving to accommodate computers and databases. However, the method has unfortunately been manipulated over time by cyberhackers, who use the keystroke data in a harmful manner. This means that passwords, PINs, credit card numbers, and other confidential information can be tracked from afar. Thankfully, many antivirus software programs are able to detect keyloggers and disable or remove them.
Wi-Fi eavesdropping is a type of cyber attack that fools victims into connecting to malicious Wi-Fi networks. Hackers will set up Wi-Fi hotspots near locations where people usually connect to a public Wi-Fi network, such as a coffee shop, a hotel, a store, or a restaurant. The hotspot possesses a name identical to the establishment’s actual Wi-Fi network, which is why this method is often called an “evil twin attack.”
Because of this all-too-common scheme, public Wi-Fi networks are considered extremely risky by security experts. If you absolutely must connect to a public Wi-Fi network while out and about, avoid checking online bank accounts, medical records, and other websites that contain sensitive information. To help hinder this issue, it is highly recommended to disable automatic Wi-Fi connections on all your devices and only connect to networks manually if absolutely necessary.
Session hijacking occurs when an attacker gains control over your internet session. The victims of this type of scam are often people monitoring or using money in some way online, such as checking bank accounts, paying bills, or shopping. Session hijacking is, scarily enough, a mainstream invasion, and cybercriminals can use a variety of methods to hijack sessions. They typically use infectious malware or take advantage of insecure Wi-Fi connections to gain access to the target’s internet session without ever being detected — a technique known as “session sniffing.”
With the vast number of scams in today’s world, Rural Mutual prioritizes education on cybersecurity topics. To learn more about how to protect your family or business from modern fraudulent schemes, visit our Cybersecurity Learning Center or talk to your local agent.