It’s been 25 years since a then-unknown Angelina Jolie starred in the movie Hackers. At the time, the World Wide Web was a new phenomenon for most people. Since that time, hackers have only gotten more sophisticated when it comes to stealing files and data.

The best way to protect your computer is by using secure remote file access and sharing. It’s also important to be aware of how hackers gain access to your system. Unfortunately, many people don’t think twice before clicking a link, regardless of what’s on the other side of it. 

The risk of getting hacked is lower when you know the method hackers use, and can avoid them. 

Internet Security at Risk as Hackers Get Creative

In the last few television seasons, quite a few shows featured stories of ransomware. It’s one of the latest methods hackers use to extort money from internet users. In one storyline, a hospital is threatened with a power shutdown unless a specific amount of money is wired to an untraceable account. 

While television is more dramatic than real-life, ransomware is a growing trend off-screen. It is just one example of how hackers are getting creative in how they scam money from un-savvy internet users. 

5 Ways Hackers Can Get Into Your System

While hacking has gotten more sophisticated, the old hacking methods are still quite common. Here are 5 of the most common methods used by hackers to get into your system: 

  1. Infecting your system with malware. Malware is one of the most-used hacking methods on the internet.  A download link to a virus is disguised as a benign link, fooling the user into clicking it. Most commonly sent through emails or social media, malware can be found in ‘safe’ places, too. 
  2. Using phishing scams to get personal data. The crown Prince from a foreign nation has money for you! If you’ve been on around the internet for a while, you’ve likely gotten a similar email. But now hackers have found a way to replicate a legitimate site’s email address. One common email tells you that your account has been compromised, and you need to reset the password. Typos and misspellings in the email or website address is a tell-tale scam sign.
  1. Logging into unsecured WiFi networks. Free internet! But sometimes it ends up costing you even more! Logging into an unsecured WiFi network allows other users on that network access to your system. 
  2. Compromising your password. In movies, passwords are easily guessed by hackers. That rarely happens in real-life. But hackers don’t NEED to guess. Your passwords are likely stored in your systems files. If a hacker gains access to your files, they have your passwords, too. Data breaches are another way hackers get privy to passwords. Experts recommend having different passwords for every site.
  1. Malicious app downloads. Hackers are coming for your phones, too. Malicious apps work like desktop downloads. Once the infected app is downloaded to your phone, hackers have access to your phone’s system. 

Getting hacked is more common than ever, likely due to social media. People unknowingly pass on the viruses to others after clicking on a sketchy link. As a rule of thumb, don’t click on links from random people or people who normally don’t send you to chat requests.

Knowing the methods hackers use can help you stay aware of the dangers lurking in emails and downloads.