There are several cybersecurity myths that many people believe in. While the computing industry popularized some, others grew organically. Here are a few common ones that you should know about:
Myth #1 The Terms “Virus” and “Malware” Mean the Same Thing
After PC viruses became a menace several decades ago, computer users began referring to any type of malicious software as a virus. But technically, viruses are just one type of malware. Today, threat actors make worms, adware, spyware, ransomware, Trojans, and other more sophisticated malware than viruses.
Myth #2 Macs Don’t Get Viruses
The Macs don’t get viruses myth was propelled by Apple itself in a 2006 commercial campaign. The fact is that Macs get do get malware like viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, and rootkits. The primary reason PCs running Windows faced more threats is that they had a bigger market share.
But there has been a shift recently. In 2020, the State of Malware Report found significantly more Mac threats per endpoint than Windows. In addition, researchers found some potentially dangerous malware like the Silver Sparrow malware targeting Mac chipsets. Researchers also found a ransomware strain called ThiefQuest with some troubling spyware capabilities.
Unfortunately, Mac's own security tools may not be sufficient against such emerging threats. It's no wonder that Mac users are downloading advanced mac virus scan software with comprehensive anti-malware capabilities.
Myth #3 Public WiFi Is Safe
While we occasionally check our emails and messages and conduct financial transactions on public WiFi, such networks aren't entirely safe. Not only do they use weaker security protocols, but they're a target for man-in-the-middle attacks and WiFi spoofing.
A man-in-the-middle attack is when hackers place themselves between two entities on a network to intercept and manipulate their communication. In such an attack, a hacker could convince you that you're talking to your boss when you're really talking to a threat actor.
WiFi spoofing is when a hacker creates a fraudulent network that looks real to trap unsuspecting users. For example, you might quickly connect to a network that shares the same name as your favorite café, not realizing that it's fake.
Myth #4 All VPNs Are Secure
As many cybersecurity experts can tell you, you can use a good VPN service to secure a public WiFi connection. But not all services use the latest VPN technology. Free VPNs, in particular, usually use outdated equipment that attracts malware and hackers. There's also the issue of trust. Experts caught many VPNs spying on users and logging their data. Always subscribe to a VPN with a no-logs policy to protect your data from snooping.
Myth #5 You Don’t Need to Download Antivirus Software
You may believe that you don't need to download an antivirus software if you have a modern operating system (OS). While your OS's security system is sufficient against conventional threats like viruses, it's unlikely to offer the same protection against newer and more sophisticated threats like ransomware. In addition, your OS’s antivirus is unlikely to defend your third-party browser against malware. Nowadays, it's a good idea to install anti-malware software to stop all malicious threats.
Hopefully, you can enhance your cybersecurity after shattering these five myths. Remember, it just takes a few minutes for malware to invade your system and create havoc.