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How to protect yourself from spam and hackers

12/01/2022 - Insurance guides

Hacking and spamming have reached new levels in the online world and it’s become very easy to become a victim of a cyber attack that invades your system and ends up stealing all your data. Find out what you’d need to watch out for while you are surfing the web, either on your mobile phone, laptop or tablet.

What is hacking?

Hacking is a term which is used to describe activities that compromise digital devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets and more. A hacker is also capable of unexpectedly breaking into entire networks and systems to prevent access to users and steal their personal data. Hacking is punishable by law as it is unauthorised access to computer systems which could then lead to further illegal activities that can have privacy and monetary impact.

What motivates hackers to hack and commit cybercrimes?

The motives can be plentiful, but here are some of the reasons why a hacker can compromise users’ mobile phones/gadgets or businesses’ computer systems:

Who are the ‘White Hats’?

Not all hacking activity is considered illegal. As hackers are highly skilled computer aficionados, they can also be professionally hired by different companies to protect their systems from any data breaches or cyber-attacks from their not so well intended counterparts. Hackers who hack ‘altruistically’ can work as security researchers, network admins or malware analysts. They are called ‘white hats’, as they are the good guys.

How do you protect your smartphone or laptop from getting hacked?

Smartphones are as open to cyber-attacks as much as computers. Hackers are waiting for people to behave carelessly on whatever gadget they are using, so that they can compromise them and their devices. Nevertheless, there are some security measures that you can take as a personal user, which would add extra layers of protection for both your mobile phone and your laptop:

Here are some of mobile security threats to be aware of:

You can read  more about the different hacking/spam terms in our glossary page

What is spam?

Spam refers to unwanted, irrelevant or unsolicited content that is sent to a large number of users mainly for commercial purposes. Spammers’ goal is to create a sense of urgency and pressure which would eventually lead the receiver to believe that they are legit and eventually respond. Spam is a slightly milder form of cyber intrusion as it aims to manipulate the user by inviting him/her to click on ‘contaminated’ links within emails, text messages and websites to enable spammers to invade their computer systems with viruses.

Unlike hackers whose main purpose is to compromise and steal data, spammers are more attention seeking and they depend on people’s response in order to attack. They achieve this through the following manipulative tools:

  1. Advertising
  2. Text messaging
  3. Calls from unknown numbers
  4. Using fake profiles to comment on public platforms like Facebook and Youtube with dangerous links for audiences to click on.
  5. Emails that contain spam content.

The most common spam threats that we see are those sent via email. Despite spammers’ best efforts to trick audiences, email companies have integrated some efficient spam filtering technologies into their servers which can keep your inbox clean and as free of junk mail as possible.

Most of us can probably recognise fake vouchers with persuasive headlines pressuring us to click and win, or download files attached with documents which are supposedly relevant to the user. Another common spam is notifying users that their accounts have been compromised and asking them to click to change the password.

What to look out for in spam emails:

In the tech world, we always advise not to reply or click anywhere inside those emails. If you are unsure about their legitimacy, the best practice would be to ignore them. If the email or text message keeps landing in your inbox, you can add the sender to your block list. Whenever you are faced with a choice between clicking and skipping, the wise choice would be to skip it altogether, even if the unknown sender is using familiar or personally related content to convince you otherwise.

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