There have been incidents where Russian hackers have created havoc in the European Union EU or the Chinese infiltrations posing as a US company. These occurrences have become a norm as in March 2019 a Russian hacking group was unmasked operating on Czech land by the intelligence agencies. The briefings aren’t clear, but rumor has it that the group is part of an international network operating outside of EU countries and used Russian identity as a cover.
All the cybercriminals operating underground are difficult to track and detect because they keep a low profile to evade detection. The most common types of disguise are to pose as a different company. These criminals use don’t use sophisticated software which aids them in staying off the radar.
Tracing hacking is not an impossible task, but few indicators give a line of sight thread to track the hacking group. Our prime examples will be based on Chinese and Russian hackers, but the preventions we will be discussed are applied for all cases and scenarios.
Russian hacking – Who, Where, When and How
Russian hacker forums gained momentum in the 90s when economic influx led to criminal networks springing up. These groups make the most impactful attacks which have two primary motivations behind it:
Geopolitical attacks are to create confusion and hesitation, and the best example would be of the 2016 US election, which was the most broadcasted story in international media. Then again, this kind of attacks happens with Countries whose governments are weak. The hacking incidents that occur affect average users because they tend to be financially motivated, and mostly, these Russian language forums have a community called “Carder.” Carder forum is a place for hackers to buy and sell stolen data, credentials identities, and much more.
The Chinese Attacks
Chinese hackers differ from Russian hackers because the aim of the states supported Chinese attacks is you compete with the European and American technology that includes robotics, AI, biomedicine, and space technology.
This leads to the Chinese hackers looking to steal economic and intellectual property from the government. Chinese hackers are not only taking advantage of the system issues to steal the corporate secrets but also tech companies assumed a suspected supply chain attack compromised them.
How to Stay Safe?
The cyber threat is a part of everyone’s life who’s connected online, and people cannot stop an attack happening but certainly avoid or delay it or even make it foolproof. Let’s go through how you can prevent the Russian and Chinese state-sponsored attacks.
Use Online Security Tools
The best and safest online security tools are antivirus, VPN and tor. VPN will encrypt all your activity traffic and spoof your identity. By hiding your IP address, your location could not be tracked so your sensitive information will not get in the wrong hands. Majority of the premium VPNs integrate high-grade security features such as ad blockers, malware blockers, IP leak protection, and much more.
However, keep in mind that free VPNs are a threat to your privacy worse than Russian and Chinese hackers. This is because these free tools have been utilized by the Chinese government to spy on the netizens. That is the reason users should only use a premium VPN available on the web.
Don’t underestimate the possibilities of the VPN service; it is a crucial tool for businesses and VPNs. However, the Russian hackers target lone survivors (targets); it’s better to have a VPN that will protect your sensitive data.
Store Passwords in a Password Manager
The biggest threat to your online privacy is yourself because users do not focus and pay attention while choosing a password. You should always use a complicated password for each account and use different numerical and alphabets. In case you have a terrible habit of forgetting passwords then try using a password manager because it’s a separate application not connected to your accounts or device.
Make sure to use a passphrase rather than a password where hackers will not be able to figure out the correct passphrase. However, if your device has biometric security such as a fingerprint, then you can adopt that for an added layer of protection.
Learn to Deal with Phishing
Phishing is the oldest trick for storing passwords, which is useful for hackers to harvest information. Russian hackers were able to rig Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign when emails were leaked from campaign employee. Multiple emails were stolen through phishing scams.
Phishing is an effective way to penetrate companies which give them access to employee details. These details are later used for fake email accounts which contain malware. The malware then offers access to companies’ networks.
The safest way to safeguard yourself is to hover your mouse cursor on the email that will show the sender. Confirm the hosting platform and the name of the company and its credentials as hackers use these to confuse employees. Further, you can choose an anti-phishing software that red flags all the scam emails.
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