COVID-19 came and brought with it a lot of trouble, some of which is a lot more free time, boredom, and a constant need for distractions. And all these have ended up creating a bigger playing ground for cyber criminals.
With most of the world’s activities migrating online, internet users are increasingly looking for fun activities to indulge in that don’t involve going outside. So from sensational celebrity gist, to ‘seemingly harmless‘ social media quizzes, to random propaganda material; these are some of the things hackers now use to trick users into revealing their personal data or downloading malware from malicious websites. As is common for cyber criminals to take advantage of vulnerable situations or people, the instability caused by the pandemic has opened a window for even the most careful people to fall victim to the latest wave of cyber attacks; CLICK BAITS.
Click Bait is a kind of Phishing Attack (see https://justthetips.io/beware-the-phishers-of-men/) that seems to tell you exactly what you want to hear. It can be a sensational ‘news’ headline, gossip column, promotional link, etc designed to entice users into visiting a dangerous site. Click Bait can also be in form of catchy quizzes (especially on Facebook), and the downside is the amount of personal information you have to give away in return.
Sometimes it’s sensational headlines that promise some scandalous revelations about a public figure; these can serve as links to malicious websites. Recently, some hackers decided to ride the wave of the recent political unrest in the USA to spread malware through a viral link that claimed to contain a sex scandal video of President Donald Trump.
Truth is, these kinds of attacks will always be around, but you can avoid them at least. So the next time you feel the urge to click on some sensational gossip link, or indulge in some random game online, remember:
a. SKIP THE QUIZ
Because they require you to reveal a lot of personal information about yourself, social media quizzes are a huge market for data theft and malware distribution. And much more than having your data stolen or exposed, you might also expose the data of your online friends/people on your contact list without even meaning to.
b. DON’T GIVE THEM ANYTHING
You should never sign in with your email or grant access to your profile to play these games; that is as good as leaving the doors of your home unlocked when you live in a very unsafe neighbourhood. Why would you want to make life so easy for the [cyber] criminals?
c. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Hackers understand and capitalise on our celebrity-worship culture. Our constant need to critically berate others and dictate how and if they should exist also makes us gullible to click baits in the worst possible way. So if we could learn to mind our business a little (read as A LOT) more, it would save us plenty long term trouble!