Outsmarting Hackers: How Cyber Criminals Manipulate Your Trust
Manipulation is an art of dark psychology that compels the victim to do what the manipulator wants. Just like the devil enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, hackers these days manipulate innocent and vulnerable people to share private information that they can use for false purposes – the consequences can be frightening.
The Shadow Behind Technology!
We all live a digital life, sharing pictures, check-ins, and even posting daily routines online. To some, these are just casual social media activities, but there is a very dark side of digital footprints everyone should know about.
Hackers are all around the internet, tricking individuals and ventures through social engineering. The term social engineering is used to describe manipulative actions that result in personal or corporate security breaches. Thankfully, services such as VPN servers in Canada can help you protect your private information and secure your digital footprints.
But before everything, you should know how hackers manipulate you to trust you, their tactics, and tricks so it becomes easy to identify a cyber-criminal.
Read along because we are going to mention some effective cybersecurity tricks in the later section.
Table of Contents
- Always Use a VPN
- Avoid Clicking on Links & Popups
- Install an Anti Malware Software
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
- Stay Alert
There are around 2,200 cyberattacks per day, which might mean that over 800,000 people are hacked yearly. Most people think a hacking attempt would be like opening up uncontrollable windows or popups on screen, which is untrue. Scareware was primarily used in past times to scare the victim by indicating harmful viruses on the device, making the victim install the suggested software (which contains the virus).
Hackers these days have become smart, just like modern technology. Instead of sending an obvious malicious bug, hackers play psychologically and discreetly through social engineering.
Social engineering attacks psychologically manipulate the victim and exploit trust, vulnerabilities, fear, or greed.
Hackers can befriend you online or scam you through a malicious bug (that doesn’t like a virus).
Here are some tricks hackers use to manipulate people’s trust;
Have you ever received an email promising a big prize by clicking on a link? Most of us have been in a situation where we get a popup on our screen or a message pretending to be a legitimate source offering something big. Beware, it’s a phishing scam. As per a study, by 2023, it is predicted that over 33 million data would be stolen, with a ransomware or phishing assault occurring every 11 seconds.
Phishing is a fraudulent act in which a cybercriminal tricks the victim into opening a virus-containing link or downloading a bugged file. It’s all intimidating and inviting. Then there comes spear phishing, which has the same motive, but hackers target specific persons or workplaces instead of randomly attacking.
Just like phishing, baiting is manipulating someone to do an action. Digitally, baiting involves sending free coupons, significant discounts, or grand offers to a targeted person so that they can click on the vicious file and the hackers can breach into their device.
Instead of targeting the victim online, tailgating involves tracking someone physically following them to their house or workplace. The attacker pretends to be a technician, delivery guy, or someone else to access the victim’s home or office. Tailgating can result in violent attempts.
Cybercriminals sometimes mask themselves as fake people to gain the victim’s trust. They may create fake profiles as a bank officer, colleague, or so to contact and gain confidential information. Pretexting false scenarios often tricks the victim and helps hackers in their malicious mission.
One of the most happening online crimes is catfishing. Cybercriminals make fake profiles of someone you know to maintain contact with you. They befriend their victims and indulge them in inappropriate activities. The victim does everything out of trust and does not know they are being used.
Every crime has a motive, and in the case of hacking, the perpetrator is usually looking for monetary benefits. If not, they want to ruin the target’s reputation or spy on them.
Identifying a hacker is simple, but you have to be alert. You must be vigilant of your actions whenever you encounter the following scenarios in an online message, email, or conversation.
Hackers create urgency to provoke actions. They may tell you that your account will expire soon or that an urgent situation must be tackled. Research shows that urgency has a 332% higher conversion potential. That is why hackers use urgency as bait.
Just like urgency, scarcity also intimidates people to take quick action. Hackers create a scenario of scarcity by offering limited-time discount coupons with only a few minutes to expire. Users take quick action and fall into the trap.
This trick is used in pretexting, where hackers pretend to be someone related to official authorities and ask for confidential information.
A cybercriminal directly or indirectly creates a sense of fear among its victims, urging them to act impulsively. They may threaten the victim by telling them there is a virus on their device or can blackmail the victim straightforwardly.
Most hackers gain the trust of their victims by familiarization. It means that they pretend to be someone from their victim’s circle, perhaps an old friend or long-distance relative, to gain trust and exploit it afterward.
Now that you have read all the tricks and tactics a hacker might use on you or your loved ones, let’s jump to the next section, explaining how to outsmart hackers.
Cybercriminals manipulate human feelings to the extent that the victim impulsively falls into their trap. Educating yourself and your family, friends, and colleagues about digital etiquette is essential.
Here are some security tricks you can use to outsmart hackers.
A hacker wants to get into your device to fetch all the details stored on it. A good VPN connection creates a firewall around your network and hides your IP address. The Virtual Private Network secures your IP address and offers high encryption, making it difficult for hackers to intercept your confidential details.
Staying vigilant is the first rule to protect yourself from hacking attacks. Try not to click on random URLs or pop-ups because they offer something promising. Remember, all that glitters is not gold.
It would be best if you did not trust anyone online. That’s why you always have authentic anti-malware installed on your device as a second line of defense. So, in case you download a malicious file online, the malware will instantly detect it and help you remove it from your system.
2FA or multi-factor authentication is the best way to secure your devices and accounts. Suppose a hacker has gained access to your bank account; in that case, if the 2FA is enabled, you can get the verification code on your phone, and the hacker can’t get into your account unless they have the OTP. Clever, isn’t it?
Never fall for tempting online offers, discounts, and free trials, as they are all traps to lure confidential details. Say no to offers displaying urgency, scarcity, or anything mentioned above.
Hackers’ manipulating techniques are getting more sophisticated with time. As people become more informed of the possible online risks, manipulation tricks become more realistic. That is why it is essential to outsmart hackers. Stay one step ahead of them and protect yourself, your family, and your workplace from hacking attacks.
Start by installing a secure VPN connection and follow all the cyber security tricks mentioned above. Stay attentive, stay informed.
Author Bio:Hadiya has expert-level knowledge about cyber security solutions as she has been writing online safety guides for more than 5 years. Her goal is to educate her readers about online safety in the best and the easiest way possible. Follow Hadiya on LinkedIn