Internet Safety– Hillary Chang



The recent Twitter hack has many internet users questioning their technological privacy. Lasting more than two hours, the incident gained widespread attention and resulted in involvement from the FBI and members of Congress, as well as three arrests.


The hackers who carried out the scam hacked the Twitter pages of prominent public

figures and celebrities, including Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, and more. The

Twitter hackers used these high profile accounts to spread a Bitcoin scam, while also

selling Twitter usernames to steal massive amounts of money.


Upon further investigation, Twitter stated that the hackers were able to manipulate

employees into revealing confidential information using social engineering, the act of

using psychological manipulation to trick online users into handing over data. When

using this tactic, attackers often implement a human element, such as a sense of fear,

to pressure victims into revealing sensitive information. In this case, the Twitter hackers

relied on spear phishing to attain valuable information from Twitter employees. The

fraudsters targeted employees by posing as a colleague and convincing them to give up

the credentials needed to access Twitter accounts.


Although this news has only recently reminded everyone about the importance of online

security, unethical hackers have always been and will continue to roam the internet. In fact,

after activities such as office work shifted to the online world, the FBI has reported a

300% increase in cybercrimes. These crimes include using keyloggers, malware

infections, SQL injection attacks, and implementing social engineering to disrupt internet activity. Of the various ways hackers steal private information, these strategies have one thing in common: attackers are exploiting vulnerabilities, whether in user’s operating systems or their emotions to steal data to commit further crimes for their own gains.


With unethical hacking and internet scams on the rise, users should remain cautious of

their actions on the internet. Online users are recommended to stay away from

unsolicited messages, offers, phone calls, or attachments. Because most hackers are

known to utilize fake websites and emails, it is important to pay close attention to any

given links to differentiate between a fraud and legit URL. In addition to investigating

requests for private information, individual users can also consider implementing

methods that businesses utilize to protect their data.


Aside from training their employees to beware of cybersecurity threats, organizations

use a variety of techniques to defend devices from malicious attacks, such as installing

anti-malware or antivirus programs, using virtual private networks, encrypting data,

choosing suitable internet packages, such as packages with built-in security features,

and keeping devices updated. Similarly, individual online users should consider using a

virtual private network for encryption, using a separate firewall to limit outside network

access to a computer, installing an anti-virus protection program, or updating their

software.

Even though these strategies are effective, they are only extra precautions. The best

way for online users to ensure confidentiality is to be mindful of what they download.

Staying away from insecure websites, unfamiliar emails, and unsafe URLs, creating

complicated passwords for different accounts, and learning to discern between

suspicious and legitimate information are all powerful ways to combat cyber attacks. Stay

safe on the internet and think before you click!


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