Life has been very different in the 2020s, due in no small part to contributions from COVID-19. Though we classify many of the changes we’ve experienced as relating to our work lives, there are some insidious differences that lie just beneath the surface. Key among these has been an appreciable growth of cyber-attacks. Targeting both home and work systems, this problem has taken many forms and doesn’t look to be disappearing anytime soon.
A Larger Audience
Indirectly, the most pronounced effect of covid that many of us have experienced is an increased focus on staying at home. This can mean remote work, distance learning, personal shopping, and many more elements that are now taking a more digital form of access. Such changes don’t just apply to the more technologically inclined either, as entire groups of people not regularly interested in the online environment have now had to adapt to the new world. The problem here is that all these people present a massive increase in potential targets for bad actors. Understanding this, hackers and malware developers have stepped up their game, finding fresh new prey to lie to and trick.
Points of Attack
There exist myriad avenues of potential points of ingress for hackers to exploit, from simple paths to complicated digital mazes. Of all of these, the most common problems come from simple password hacking or brute-forcing. This is possible because users often rely on the same or similar passwords, which are commonly shared among users and rarely changed. This becomes a problem because the specialized tools made by hackers can quickly sort through this information, to determine where accounts might be linked and how information could be shared. If a user’s password relies on the name of a website followed by a series of numbers, for example, AI tools could note this pattern, and extrapolate based on logical predictions.
Ultimately, a strong place to start with online security is through good safety practices, changing passwords often, and relying on malware scan tools to keep systems clean. The only major problem with this route is that it can require the memorization of many constantly changing passwords, which isn’t ideal. As with any problem with the internet, however, there are tools that can manage this issue for users. A common remedy for this issue is found in biometric security measures, which eliminates the need for passwords and instead relies on mobile device biometrics. Using these systems, a person can use simple instant authenticate tools like face or fingerprint scanners to automatically manage logins and website information. This removes the memorization aspect of passwords, meaning much more random and safe passwords become realistically usable.
While there are more potential threats on the internet today than in many points in the past, there are also many more ways users can defend themselves. Understanding this, being proactive can protect the overwhelming majority of internet denizens from harm, no matter their use case. Just remember that prevention is the best first step, and your 2020s will be safer for it.