Phishing is a popular scam to bait internet users into providing private information. It usually acquires information for the purpose of identity theft. A “phisher” usually sends emails to various individuals and claims to be a legitimate entity. People are duped into providing their personal information, mostly of financial nature, because they believe that the email is from a legitimate source. The email usually directs the unsuspecting individual to a website where he is asked change his personal information like bank account numbers, social security number, credit card information, and passwords. The website looks like a legitimate site but it only steals information from the person.
With the popularity of cloud computing, it is not surprising to find out that more and more individuals are being scammed by “phishers” and other cybercriminals. Because not all individuals have the technological know-how, the tendency is for these persons to be duped into providing their personal information through the internet. According to Intersections Inc. VP for Information Security Tom Rohrbaugh, although cloud data storage provides a lot of savings to firms and can be very convenient to users, it has, however, taken some degree of control which users and firms have over their own personal information.
Hackers can breach the defenses of cloud computing service providers and gain access of the various data in the datacenter. Although there is very little that any user can do to prevent this, it is good practice to have some form of security in order to lessen the probability that any financial data in the cloud can be hacked by thieves and reduce any possible damage from a data hacking occurrence.
According to Trend Micro VP for Cloud Security Dave Asprey, an internet user must have a strong password in order to protect his cloud data. More often than not, passwords are hacked through dictionary attack. A hacker usually guesses a user’s password by trying a roster of common passwords. Therefore, to ensure that a user’s password is safe, it mustn’t be common. A very popular technique is to create a password using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters which are hard to remember. This will give a potential hacker immense difficulty in guessing the password.
Another problem with regards to passwords is that most users use only one password for all websites they regularly visit. According to Dave Asprey, if only one of these websites gets hacked, there is also a great possibility that the other sites will be hacked also. Therefore to avoid this from happening, a user must use different passwords for different websites.
In order to prevent any other potential problems which breach security, it is advisable to keep the computer clean and free from malwares. Most hackers take advantage of malwares to gather sensitive information from infected computers. Therefore, a user must install and keep anti-malware and anti-virus software update all the time. Also, it is important not to click suspicious attachments sent through email. By clicking this attachment, a malware can send scams to other users’ accounts. It is also great practice to scan email attachments for malwares and viruses prior to opening them.
When personal data in the clouds is breached and it is not the user’s fault, most major cloud providers put the responsibility on the user who placed such data in the cloud. Although large firms can negotiate the contract’s terms, a regular user may have no control on how his personal information is placed in the cloud. Thus, if anybody wants to take advantage of cloud storage and other applications, it is best to store only those data which aren’t very sensitive.