You may be thinking your information is not good. You might even be thinking that because you’re not rich, nobody would want your information. Since you believe that you don’t have anything to give away, you’re naturally going to start believing that there’s no reason to protect your data or identity. But this is far from reality. In this digital age, everyone’s information is valuable.

Let’s think about the free social apps you’ve registered onto – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. You might think they are free, but you’re actually signing away your privacy. Everything you do on these apps tracks and collects information about you, which is then created as a profile. What’s more to survive, these free apps are teaming up with advertisers. So, if legitimate companies are able to make money out of your information – then why wouldn’t you also be an interest to a hacker.

Similarly, to these app companies, hackers send out attacks in order to steal your personal data to sell, or exploit you directly for money. There are a variety of ways, hackers can trick you into parting with your information.


The ways hackers can steal from you

1. Phishing
Phishing is a fake email masquerading as a legitimate one. Hackers create phishing emails with the intention to steal your confidential information like passwords and bank account details.  This kind of email appears to have come from a well-known person or organisation like your bank or company that you work for. These emails try to create a sense of urgency to trick you into giving out your personal details. A typical example, you receive an email from your bank saying that your ATM card has been disabled, and you need to confirm your card number or your Aadhaar number to re-activate it.

How to stay away from Phishing attacks

  • Look for spelling or grammatical errors in domain names or email addresses. Hackers often use email addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies but are slightly altered. For example, instead of (“l” instead of “i”).
  • Think twice before clicking any links. If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don’t click on it. Instead, hover your mouse on the link to see if the URL matches the link that was provided in the message.

2. Malware
Malware is short for malicious software that is written with the intent of compromising a device and stealing the data available on the system. These programmes can perform a variety of functions some of which include stealing or deleting sensitive data, modifying system’s core functionalities, and secretly tracking the victim’s activities. There are various factors that can lead to the installation of malware in your system.


How to keep your devices malware- free

  • To keep your devices safe from malware, use a legitimate anti-virus software.
  • Always you’re your operating system updated.
  • Don’t download software from unofficial sites as there are chances it may contain malware.
  • Never click on fake antivirus pop-ups that are generated from websites.
  • Never download pirated apps/software as they always contain some kind of malware


3. Malicious Mobile Apps
There is a big misconception that every app available on Google Playstore or Apple store is safe and legitimate. However, this is not the case. Not every app available on these stores is safe for users. Some of these apps may contain malicious code that can put your privacy at risk.

How to stay safe

  • Always check the permissions before downloading an app.
  • Check reviews and ratings.
  • Avoid downloading an app if it has less than 50,000 downloads.
  • Do not download apps from third party app stores.
  • Never download pirated/cracked apps.

4. Smishing
Smishing is a form of phishing in which someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a phone call or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security.

How to stay safe

  • Don’t share any critical information over a phone call or SMS.
  • Always verify the identity of the message before clicking links in it.
  • If you receive a message saying it’s from a person you know and asks for critical data, call the person on the number stored in your contacts (instead of calling the SMS number) and verify that he/she has requested the data.

5.Physical Security Threats
A physical threat is any threat to your sensitive information that results from other people having a direct physical access to your devices like laptops, hard drives and mobile devices.

Physical security breaches can happen at your workplace or even at your home. For example, someone could get hold of your confidential files that they are not supposed to see or access an unattended system which is not password-protected.

How to stay safe

  • Be careful how you store confidential information. Use encrypted computer hard drives, USBs, etc. if they contain sensitive information.
  • Never write your passwords on a post-it or notepad.
  • Never leave your system unattended. Always protect it with a strong password.
  • Don’t leave your phone unlocked and unattended.
  • Make sure proper backup and remote wipe services are enabled in case you lose your device.

Remember, your data is worth a lot to hackers, so it’s important to take steps to protect it. Make sure all your gadgets are up to date, with all the security solutions needed to fend off online attacks. Make use of security software’s, password managers, and two-factor authentication. Most of all, stay updated on the latest cyber threats that you could potentially fall for. As cyber-attacks continue to evolve, cyber security awareness training program