Internet have made our life easier than before because we can do a lot of things while sitting in our home. However, it also introduced new ways by which criminals can harm people. Your computer and smartphone may have your personal data and you might have even saved your passwords or credit/debit card details. Hackers are always trying to find their new victim and it is common for them to try to steal data while trying to deceive people.
The hackers may try to make money either by selling your data, by misusing them or by trying to encrypt them and ask you for money to decrypt the data. One can get their smartphone or computer compromised with their infected program if they are careless. However, if you are careful then it can reduce the chances of your devices getting hacked by a huge margin.
So, read on and you will know how you can keep your device safe from being compromised.
Ways Hackers Can Use To Steal Your Data:
There is a huge number of methods which hackers can use to steal your data. However, it is rare to come across most of them. The methods listed here are the most common ways hackers use. So, unless somebody is targeting you, you can be sure that you will likely face only one of these methods.
These methods vary depending on whether you are using your computer or your smartphone. However, it is very similar on both.
Pirated Software/Games (PC):
This is the most common way people get their computer infected with malware which can either steal their data, encrypt their data (ransomware) or even destroy their computer data.
It is common for most users to find ways to use software and games for free. A lot of people have a mentality that they shouldn’t pay for software or games. So, at the end, they tend to find pirated version of the same.
The pirated software or games found in the torrent or random websites are mostly filled with virus or malware. They often won’t work and even if they do, they might be doing things in the background, so you don’t uninstall their software.
Well, don’t install pirated software or games. I know it sounds lame to most people but that’s the right thing to do here. Most software provide trial for their product, so if you just want to test them then you can do so for free. The developers of the software and games also workday & night to provide you the best experience. So, you should consider buying their product if you find it useful or entertaining.
Apart from this, do not install them from unknown or third-party sources. It also includes your friends & family. To be honest, you’re more likely to get infected software or game from a friend or family than a torrent website. So, keep this in mind.
At last, having up-to-date antivirus is a must thing on your computer. It would be better to have a premium antivirus if you don’t always use official sources to install the programs. Microsoft Defender would be fine for the most part though.
Malicious Apps Installation (Smartphone):
It is quite common for people to install apps without thinking twice in their Android smartphone. There can be a bunch of reasons for people to install some random app. There are people who install apps from unknown sources to get any premium app or game for free. Some people install malicious app after getting deceived or tricked.
Apps from third-party sources have high probability of being malicious. Google Play Store and Apple App Store are also constantly removing malicious apps from their app stores, so you can understand how common they must be.
These apps may steal your data and may even constantly spy over what you’re typing on which application or website. So, they can steal your login details as well as payment details. These apps could ruin your device if you give them root-access.
It is obvious that you shouldn’t install apps from unknown sources. Always make sure that you are installing apps from Google Play Store or Apple App Store (for iOS). You may also use other sources, if you trust them but I won’t recommend so.
One of the most important thing which you must remember is to never grant root access to unknown app. The app can do just anything with your phone if you grant it root access, so always keep that in mind.
Apart from that, if you have already installed some app which you are not able to uninstall then you may use Malwarebytes or any other trustworthy antivirus for Android to get rid of it.
It is another common method which hackers use to steal information. They will try to deceive you by pretending to be some famous and trustworthy website by having similar domain name and exactly same design.
It will feel like as if you’re on the genuine website and they will ask for your information whether it is login details or your card details. Once you’ve entered the details, they will soon either take over your account or sell your data or try to make purchases using your card details.
You should always check the URL of the website where you are entering your login details or payment details. Make sure that the referrer to your payment page is genuine as well.
Besides that, if you’re asked to type your login details or payment details inside the software, game or app then make sure that it is highly trustworthy. It can be a trick to steal your data as well.
Compromised Wi-Fi Network:
Cybercriminals can also hack into Wi-Fi routers and steal the information which you’re sharing in a unencrypted website or application. It is quite rare for websites (especially payment gateways) or apps to not have encryption, so it is not so useful for them.
However, they can also make changes to the DNS settings of the router and make the Wi-Fi users visit different website then what they intended to. So, even though you will be seeing exact same domain name, it won’t be the same. It is another type of phishing attack. So, if you try to open www.facebook.com in a compromised network, it will continue to show you the same website and domain, but it could actually be a phishing website which is waiting for you to enter your login details.
It would be rare for your own private Wi-Fi to be hacked though. For public networks, you must be careful.
As I said above, you have be careful while connecting to public Wi-Fi networks because they could be compromised. That’s another reason why many people don’t recommend connecting to random Wi-Fi networks even if that means free Internet.
You should also use custom DNS or trustworthy VPN network in public Wi-Fi networks, so you don’t get caught in DNS hijacking.
For your own Wi-Fi router, be sure to always keep your Wi-Fi router updated. There can be vulnerabilities on your Wi-Fi router firmware if it is too old, so if you think that someone will try to hack into your Wi-Fi, you should get a new router soon.
Also, make sure that you keep your Wi-Fi networks as well as Wi-Fi router (and the modem) protected with a strong password.
Also read: Are custom ROMs safe for your smartphone?
So, these were some of the most common methods which hackers or cybercriminals can use to steal data from your computer or smartphone. There are a bunch of more methods by which hackers can do it but for that, they would need to be targeting you. And if you’re someone worth being targeted then I am sure you will have security experts’ support with you.