Although studies show that hackers attack every 39 seconds, cybersecurity is still murky waters for internet users. Many people believe either that their computers don't hold any valuable information, or that they have enough protection against possible attacks.
"There are many misconceptions around cybersecurity. While people are scared of cyber-attacks, they know very little about who gets targeted, and what kind of information attackers want," says Oliver Noble, an encryption specialist at NordLocker.
Although there are many, we selected the three most common cybersecurity misconceptions:
"I'm not interesting to hackers."
Five out of ten users are not worried about cybersecurity as they think they aren’t attractive to hackers. A widespread misconception is that hackers only target officials, politicians, entrepreneurs, or other important people. While some attacks target specific people or companies, this is not the most common method. Instead, hackers often use the "spray and pray" tactics of sending out mass hack attempts to see which ones stick.
"My antivirus protects me."
Six out of ten users assume their antivirus can protect from cybercrime. To put it simply, if antivirus software were 100% effective, there would be no hackers and no cyberattacks. Cybercriminals have many weapons in their arsenal, and antivirus can only do so much. For example, hackers often use a tactic called social engineering. It's the art of manipulating people into giving out personal information, such as your passwords or answers to your backup security questions (for instance, 'what's your mother's maiden name' or 'what was your first pet's name'). Hackers might call you and pretend to be your friend or an authority figure to extract this private information. In such attacks, the only ‘antivirus’ you can trust is your own judgment.
"I have nothing valuable online."
Seven out of ten users believe that they don't have anything that may invite a hacker attack. Of course, the primary goal of a hacker is financial gain, and there are many different ways how cybercriminals could earn money from hacking. Just because you don't have millions sitting in your bank account, doesn't mean that you have nothing valuable. Most of us use various online services, have access to internet banking, and shop online. The majority also have many accounts, such as email, Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, and others. These accounts could be locked up for ransom or sold on the darknet. For example, you can get a Netflix account for as low as $1.25. These accounts could later be used for spamming, carding, and fraud activity.
According to Oliver Noble, your computer is another asset, which could be used as a proxy server for anonymous illegal actions. “It could be sending spam, infecting other devices, taking part in DDoS attacks, or breaching companies and governmental organizations,” explains the expert.
Documents are another valuable asset for hackers. You can buy a fake passport, driving license, or an ID card from different countries for approximately $1,000 apiece. Also, you can become an American citizen for just $6,000. So if you store pictures of your passport or other documents on your PC, secure them with a robust encryption tool, such as NordLocker.