You’ve just sat down in your favorite reading spot, whether it be a Cafe, The Library or even the safety of your own home. Sitting there comfortably you type medium.com into your Internet browser and start scrolling through your recommended stories. The only problem is you aren’t on Medium.com! You unknowingly have been redirected by a Hacker to a fake website. While it looks every bit the same as the website you think you’re visiting, this website is sitting on a malicious server owned by said Hacker.
This is called DNS Spoofing and it happens to millions everyday across the world, and the worst part is you may never know that it has happened to you. Now you might ask what could be so dangerous about visiting a fake Medium website. I don’t have my credit card on there or any personal information just a bunch of articles. Until you realize you had to login, you could be downloading viruses as we speak and what if Medium wasn’t the website you decided to visit. Your login information is just as valuable as your I.D or S.S.N. on the Internet, it is your Identity how websites know who they are talking too. Now think about all the other websites you use that same login info for, that Hacker now has access to all of them.
There is a chance that maybe that’s not what he was after in the first place though and instead of collecting your username and password he decided to Download viruses on your computer. The range of viruses that there are out there is insane. There are Viruses that log every key you press, Viruses that manipulate your Internet traffic and they even have Viruses with the sole purpose of downloading more Viruses and they all come in various forms. You might be thinking well that’s why I have Anti-virus software, to protect me against these very threats. Sadly it’s allot easier to create a virus that your anti-virus software can’t detect. Than it is for these companies to predict every way shape and form that a hacker might design these viruses and a Hacker only needs to get one on your computer. Both of these scenario’s are equally scary in their own right, but they are both the least likely. While a Hacker might try them, the third will probably be your biggest problem.
Let’s say instead of going to medium.com you decided to go to Amazon or Ebay. Once you have done all of your shopping and are ready to check out the website asks for your billing information. Now this is a little strange. You thought that the website already had this information stored in their database. Now remember you don’t know you’re on a fake website and you aren’t going to let the last half an hour go to waste, so you chalk it up to a goof and type in your information anyway insuring you saved it this time. Now on top of having your login information and loading your computer down with Viruses. This Hacker also has your Name, Billing Address and Credit Card Information all because you wanted to use the Internet just like everybody else. Now I do want to reassure you the Internet isn’t that scary of a place and Hackers aren’t lurking behind every corner, but this is a common occurrence. It not only has happened to people I know and care about, but it has happened to me as well. The biggest problem with these kinds of attacks is there isn’t one security measure you can take to prevent them. There are several ways that Hackers can Implement these attacks to circumvent your security. They can use Viruses to change your computers settings, Fake WiFi Networks to redirect your Internet Traffic and Man In the Middle Attacks to change the Ip Address of the server you are talking to, and Anti-virus Software only protects against one of these threats. For the other two you’ll need something a little more than the obvious.
Think about you computer like it’s your house. You probably have an alarm set up and cops patrolling the streets right, but both of these are virtually useless unless you lock your doors. On the Internet your alarms are equivalent to Identity Theft protection and the Cops are the equivalent of having anti-virus software, but most people aren’t locking their doors. Now you might be asking what the equivalent is to that and if it’s so important why you haven’t heard about it? The answer is this security measure isn’t traditionally thought of in this way and most of these threats are still relatively new. The Technology to do this has been around for a while now but has always been used for a completely different purpose. What you will be looking for to lock up your house (Computer) is called a VPN. This stands for a Virtual Private Network this software encrypts your Internet Traffic between you and the Servers of your VPN Service Provider. This software is especially helpful for protecting you against DNS spoofing attacks that are implemented over Fake WiFi Networks and Man In The Middle Attacks, but some services do provide malware protection as well. This security measure should be your first line of defense on the Internet. Not your Anti-virus Software and a Hacker should never get the chance to alert your Identity Theft protection service.
This security measure has been over looked for far too long and too many have fallen victim to Hackers because of it.You will only pay 3 to 5 dollars a month for a service like this and you are protected from not only DNS Spoofing Attacks, but all kinds of methods Hackers might use to steal your sensitive information. if you would like to know more about VPN’s and how you can use them to protect yourself on the Internet check out my article on Internet Security In The Modern Age and if you would like to know more about Fake WiFi Networks and the security threat they impose check out my article on WiFi Gone Rouge. There are Several different ways a computer hacker can steal you personal information on the Internet and DNS Spoofing is only one of them. VPN’s protect you against most of these threats and make you a much harder target for Hackers. I will include a list of VPN’s that I use and trust at the bottom of this article, so you can check them out and begin your search for a safer Internet experience.
Explains what DNS is and how it works
Explains how Internet Security has changed in today's world and the basics of Internet Privacy and Security.
How Public WiFi Networks can be used against you and how you can protect yourself against them.
Explains how we are never fully protected on the Internet.
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