5 Methods Hackers Use to Get Around Your Cyber Security

Hackers always try to stay one step ahead of anti-virus and anti-malware software to access secure data. As technology improves and changes, so do the tactics of cyber criminals. Hacking, online scamming, and social engineering are significant threats to your devices and network security. Studies have found that cyber attacks happen more frequently to small businesses than larger ones. Here are five common cybersecurity threats used by cyber criminals to get around your data security and inside your network.

Email Threats

Emails can have viruses and malware that allow unauthorized access, and when selected can make your device or network vulnerable to a cyber attack. Virus-infected software is commonly known as malware, and there are multiple types of malware which all operate a bit differently.

The easiest way for malware to access your device is through email to unsuspecting users. The email is usually difficult to identify, but more often than not it will have a link that downloads malware (providing the hacker with sensitive information on your computer) when it’s selected. The real problem is, if you don’t have anti-malware installed on your device, you may not even know about the cyber security data breach.


This is a type of spyware-specific malware that collects information from a computer (such as user activity) without the user even knowing that it’s there. The spyware records every activity you perform on your device, including the passwords you type to get into your email or bank accounts, the links you click and websites you visit. Spyware does exactly what you think it does. It spies on you when you’re on your computer trying to steal sensitive data. All of this behavior and its associated data is then communicated back to the cyber criminal. 


Keylogger is a type of spyware and is one of the most common and dangerous types of malware that steals sensitive data. Software companies legitimately use keylogger software to get feedback for development improvements, but it’s also used maliciously by hackers to steal data. Keylogger software is powerful because it keeps track of everything you type on your device, including your email address and passwords. Cyber criminals use keylogger malware to steal data by recording information as you type. It then transfers the data into the hands of unauthorized users.

Malicious Websites

Make sure you know what you’re clicking. A malicious website can appear to be a trustworthy website, but its only goal is to wreak havoc on your computer systems, information systems or network infrastructure. Links to this website may appear in an email or even on a legitimate website.

You can spot a malicious website if you know what to look for. Here’s a few things to watch out for: 

  1. Requests for personal information. Are you asked to supply personal or sensitive information? This is the number one red flag for suspicious activity. No credible organization will ask you to provide critical information or personal data over email. 
  2. Unknown or suspicious links. It’s a good practice to be suspicious of any and all links provided in an email. Additionally, it’s important to make sure the linkis  taking you where you expected to go. If you’re unsure, right click on the link and select Properties to check the link.
  3. Poor grammar or sloppy formatting. Look for misspellings in the URL or email copy which is often a tell-tale sign of fraud. 

Social Media Cyber Security Threats

People have the misconception that if they sign out of their social media account, hackers can’t access it. That is not true. Hackers access social media accounts through social engineering techniques and social media pages. These pages often look legitimate, and therefore, when a user gets an invite to join, they usually do. Once a user clicks a link, malware downloads onto their device and tries to access sensitive information. Common threats hackers use with social media to work around cyber security tools include:

  • Phishing
  • Malicious links in group posts
  • Celebrity spoofing
  • Links on websites
  • Fake accounts from “friends”
  • Link in message from friend who’s infected

Ways to help ensure your data security is to delete your browsing history. Cyber security professionals also recommend having unique passwords for every login and avoiding connecting to the internet via a public Wi-Fi.

Online Hijacking

Whether shopping online, watching a video on YouTube, or playing a game, ads are prevalent no matter where you go online. Most ads are legitimate, but ads can be deceiving.

  • Browser Hijacking.Often, users will download apps and extensions to their browsers, but these improvements in functionality may come at a cost. These free apps and extensions can be bundled with ads. Once a user downloads them, the deceitful ads install on the user’s web browsers, and it changes the way they see a business’ website. These ads can direct users to a competitor website or a website with a similar product. For small businesses, this can cause a loss of revenue and trust.
  • Pre-Hijack Online Accounts.  A relatively new technique for a data breach involves the attacker predicting which online service a targeted user will register for and then manipulating the registration process prior to the user creating an account. This usually results in the attacker having access to the account. These types of attacks can also include users with single sign-on (SSO) services.

Trojan Horse Software

Using the trojan technique is one of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your network and sensitive information. Like other techniques, Trojan Horse software looks legitimate and can be used for legitimate access.

Trojans can: 

  1. Build backdoors for hackers making it convenient for them to manipulate your personal information. They can edit, create, and delete files in your system through a trojan.
  2. Be very harmful because there is no warning activity. They can extract banking information and transactional activities.
  3. Can  use your device to affect other users and get their personal information and money by misusing the data.
  4. Can  encrypt files, folders, and mobile devices, and hackers can demand any amount from users to decrypt the devices and information.

Trojans can also be employed in the form of a computer worm. A computer worm is a type of Trojan horse malware that spreads through your computer and your network like a forest fire out of control. A computer worm can access your device through phishing, file sharing, social platforms, and even infected USB drives. Worms can appear as legitimate software and once the files have downloaded, after infecting the device, it accesses the email and sends links to your contacts. Anyone who opens the link will become infected by the worm as well.

Malicious Activities

User behavior online continues to change and evolve. It’s different from how it was five years ago. Staying updated on new techniques helps keep your personal information safe and your computer systems and company network protected from unauthorized users and attacks. You can improve your company’s cyber security by preventing unauthorized access and malicious software on your systems networks.

Visual Edge IT, Inc. (VEIT) specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S. including remote office locations. We offer a full line of office technology and services including 24/7 remote monitoring and administration of networks, service desk, and data backup and restore to improve business processes across a variety of industries.  Plus, Visual Edge IT™ represents the industry’s leading manufacturers of office technology allowing businesses to get equipment, supplies and service from a single source. Backed by more than 20-years of technology service and a national network of expert engineers, VEIT is uniquely positioned to support business technology needs. The company is headquartered in North Canton, OH, USA. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.