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    How to Beat the Hacker: From Improving Browsing Habits to Using Proper Antivirus

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    Web Safety: How Hackers Steal Your Data and How to Protect Yourself (5)
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    Last year, antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab announced that some 323,000 new samples of malware are discovered each day. The Internet is becoming a jungle, and even with proper protection measures being taken, it’s very hard for the average user to stay safe online.

    In the early days of computing, there were only a few viruses, and not all of them were malware since some were created by programmers for fun or educational purposes. However, by 2011 computer security firm Kaspersky Lab was discovering 70,000 new malicious files daily. In the next six years, that number increased by almost five-fold. Kaspersky says cyber criminals turned to mass production of viruses, so the antivirus giant had to employ a new kind of technology based on machine learning to improve detection process. Hacking software is being made on such a massive scale that it's becoming increasingly harder for antivirus manufacturers to keep up.

    New exploits, which use newly-found "0-day vulnerabilities" (and thus stay undetectable for antiviruses and firewalls for a while), create so much chaos that critics claim antivirus software is becoming obsolete. But Steven Coty – Chief Security Evangelist of cloud security firm Alert Logic thinks otherwise. Here's a part of his interview on the YouTube channel SingleHop:

    Antivirus is key. Regardless of what some people say – it's not dead. And antivirus software still has a place in the security in-depth strategy. We deployed a honeypot late last year and it's been running for well over a year now. We've been collecting a lot of malware samples from different actors around the world. And we've run this through an open-source tool called VirusTotal, where you can basically upload a piece of malware and it will run that malware across fifty of the top antivirus vendors in the world. And we found that 14% of the malware that we've run through there came undetectable, which means 0 of the 55 antivirus vendors picked it up. But they did catch 86%, so antivirus software still has a place in your security in-depth strategy.

    However, using antivirus software is not a sure-fire cure for malware epidemic. Researchers say that there are a number of other things that users have to do to stay safe online.

    First of all, you have to follow the news and know the scams. The recent WannaCry ransomware epidemic could have been stopped much quicker if thousands of Windows users protected themselves by reading security advisory and patching their systems on time.

    Secondly, it's very important to use unique strong passwords for different websites. Passwords like "12345," and "abc123" just don’t work anymore. Change your passwords regularly and use two-factor authentication when possible.

    Thirdly, think carefully before clicking on links, especially those in emails from unfamiliar senders. Phishing scams are becoming increasingly popular and bad guys do a lot of research to tailor individual messages to their victims.

    Besides that, there are dozens of other tips that will keep you safe, like installing security updates on time, using a firewall and improving your online shopping habits.

    And, of course, all of that applies not only to your laptop and desktop computers but also to handheld devices, such as tablets or smartphones.

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    Web Safety: How Hackers Steal Your Data and How to Protect Yourself (5)
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