New issues arise within the midst of cybersecurity
On December 14, 2016, Yahoo announced that 500 million email accounts were hacked in August 2013, making it the largest breach in history. Additionally, the 2016 election shed light on the possibility of foreign hackers manipulating the election votes to add up in President-elect Donald Trump’s favor. Issues like these bring up the question: how safe are we from hackers and security risks and what can we do to prevent this?
Many smartphone users enjoy downloading new apps to make their life easier. Little do these users know that several apps within the App Store contain vicious malware and spying instruments.
A security firm found that 70% to 80% of the top free apps on Android and iPhone devices were hacked, and even 97% among the top paid apps on both platforms were compromised (CBS News). Most of the apps, such as “WeChat,” “Miracle warm,’’ and “Flush,” contained spyware created in China.
Many cloud-based apps often request their users’ location, data, and contacts. Some of these apps are as simple as a flashlight or a calendar app. This means that the creators of certain apps can easily obtain the personal information of their users by simply asking for it.
Most of these apps display various ads to make money—a strategy similarly used by large companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. However certain apps leave alarming notifications when users open the ads: “You have 12 viruses! Don’t close this page!” or “Don’t leave this page! Your phone is infected!” These warnings are scare tactics used by third parties to obtain credit card information, cell phone numbers, and personal data from the apps’ users.
Buffer overflow is another form of threat that many common web users face in the modern world. A buffer overflow attack is an app that stores data in more space than it can hold and is programmed to exploit and misuse other buffer addresses (Hackread). The manipulation includes overwriting the data on other buffer addresses as well as damaging and deleting data.
Another form of cyber attacks that users face is broken session management and authentication. Although these threats are easy to avoid, many users end up dealing with these problems. Session management is the process a website undergoes when it remembers the information about a user’s account, for example, certain websites like Facebook or Twitter remember the user’s password after it has been inputted once, there are several weak spots in session management and authentication, which makes it easy for hackers to take advantage of the vulnerable spots and do all kinds of cyber espionage (Hackread).
As more and more of our personal information is digitized, our data is at risk of being hacked or exploited. Users should take better caution in downloading apps, or using websites because the internet world is not as safe as it may seem. Users can stay away from certain risks by installing a firewall on your computer, only downloading secure and official apps, changing your password often, and installing an anti-spyware program.