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Terrifying Threats That Will Try to Trick Instead of Treat You This Halloween

Last year was a banner year for cybercriminals and hackers, as there were increases in some of the most dangerous threats on the Internet landscape. Over 317 million new pieces of malware was created in 2014, which equals about 1 million new threats being released on a daily basis. If you’re not scared stiff yet, continue reading.

The Menace of Mobile Malware

Mobile malware is the same kind of malware on computers, except it is engineered for your phones and tablets. Mobile malware is out to get you. Well, the details about you, anyway. As the popularity of smartphones and tablets grows, people tend to use them as they would use a normal computer, which means these devices hold an abundance of personal data.

According to Symantec’s 2015 Internet Security Threat Report, 17 percent of nearly one million Android apps are masquerading as malware, that’s roughly 170,00 apps that are out to trick and not treat you this year.

  • You can protect yourself and your device by using a mobile security solution, such as Norton Mobile Security available from the Google Play Store. Norton Mobile Security’s App Advisor provides proactive protection from malicious apps before you download them.
  • Educate yourself on perilous phishing scams, as these are the preferred methods attackers use to spread their malware. If you receive any kind of message on your phone that comes from someone you don’t know, or is offering up some sort of free “something” be very cautious and remember to not click on any links or download any files.

Devilish Drive-by-downloads and Masquerading Malicious Websites

Got goose bumps yet? If not this terrifying threat may give you chills down your spine. Why? Because with this menace, you don’t have to do a thing to get infected, and you probably won’t know when you are, either.

Silent but deadly, a drive-by-download is when a user visits a malicious website that hosts something called an exploit kit. An exploit kit is a sort of “tool kit” that attackers use to look for software vulnerabilities. Once a vulnerability is found, the kit will then automatically inject malware onto the computer.

  • Keep your operating system, and all other software patched and up to date.
  • Be discerning about which websites you visit.
  • Install an Internet Security Suite known for having leading technologies to keep you ahead of today’s threats. Norton Internet Security has Browser Protection technology built-in to protect against drive-by downloads.

Sinister Social Scam Sharing

In 2014 70 percent of social scams were manually shared. By users! Social scams bring a plethora of threats straight to your doorstep, such as malware, spyware, ransomware, and more. They’re spread by social engineering, which preys on the vulnerabilities of humans- emotions. When people are faced with certain scenarios, their first impulse is to act first and think later.

If the fact that users and not criminals perpetuate this scam doesn’t freak you out, the next two dark disasters may.

  • Just because you see it on your feed doesn’t mean it is true. Sometimes, your friends may have fallen victim to the scam and are not aware of it or scammers could have hijacked their account.
  • Always check the link before clicking. You can do that by either hovering over the link or looking directly below the link itself on the Facebook post, which shows the referring website’s URL.
  • Be very suspicious when there is a call to action before being able to view the content, receive free thing, or anything else suspicious. Actions such as having to share the media before viewing, requests to take a survey or download additional software are all huge red flags.

Demonic Data Breaches

In 2014, 312 data breaches occurred and approximately 348 million identities were exposed. Data breaches occur within organizations of all shapes and sizes. They hold a plethora of information about their customers, therefore they are an extremely lucrative target for criminals. As a result, data breaches were increased by 23 percent last year.

The top five entities targeted are the healthcare sector, retail and e-tailers, educational institutions, the Government and financial establishments. The top five types of information that were most sought after were full names, social security numbers, home addresses, financial information and dates of birth. The more of this data a criminal has gathered about an individual, the easier it is for them to commit identity theft, or fetch a hefty price tag for the data on the black market.

  • Regularly monitor your credit report.
  • Keep a close eye on your bank accounts and any other financial accounts you have for suspicious activity. If they offer activity alerts, sign up for them.
  • Make sure that you use secure passwords, and be sure not to use the same password across multiple sites. Keeping track of various passwords can seem like a pain, but there are utilities such as Norton’s ID Safe Password Manager to help you keep track of all of those for you.

Rotten Ransomware

This treacherous threat grew 113 percent in 2014. There were approximately 317 million new variants added in 2014 alone. There was also 45 times more instances of its close cousin- creepy crypto-ransomware. All of this boils down to about 24 thousand ransomware attacks per day. Ransomware has the capability to make your computer almost completely useless, depending on the type. Regular ransomware will essentially “lock” your hard drive via encryption, where crypto-ransomware will only lock seemingly important files such as documents, photos, emails and the like. Once the ransomware has taken hold, users are presented with a “warning” screen, appearing to be from local law enforcement or government agencies, stating that there was illegal content found on the device and it is now locked. However, they’ll let it slide if you pay a fee anywhere from 300-500 dollars and unlock it for you. However, it’s not guaranteed that if you

  • Don’t Pay The Ransom. Do NOT pay the ransom. There’s no guarantee that you will actually get your files back if you pay.
  • Back that data up. The best way to recover compromised or damaged data is by doing regular backups. Yes, kind of annoying, but imagine how much worse it would be if your computer became locked up with ransomware?
  • Use a good Internet security solution to prevent the ransomware from being installed on the computer in the first place.

Labels: Halloween