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Scamming and malware is a constant worry for Internet users. Many people use the Internet to pay bills and manage their finances. Almost every website requires a username and password to access information and keeping track of all the logins can be a hassle. Often, people will let their guard down, share information with friends, or be careless while browsing from a public location. Sometimes, even while practicing safe browsing habits, people can find themselves in a sticky situation where their accounts are compromised. There are many factors involved in staying secure. Knowing how the criminals gain access to your information can help you be more aware of common traps while surfing the web.

One of the most popular ways cybercriminals gain access to private information is by exploiting backdoor openings in browsers. It works better than any other tactic because it doesn’t require the user to willingly do anything such as click on a harmful link or download an infected file. Malicious sites are often accessed while clicking on results from a search engine. That isn’t to say that fake websites and malware-laden websites aren’t the typical fare for a crook; the most commonplace scam is the one that involves a hacker redirecting you to a website that looks identical to another and requests your login information. If you are socially network savvy, you may be aware of these types of scams since they are commonly spread as links from a hijacked account. What the hacker wants most of all is to be profitable with his craft, so it goes to figure that websites like Paypal and banking services are highly targeted.

False websites coupled with malware such as keylogging tools are bundled together to lure the victim in and steal his sensitive data. Even websites that have a multi-login process aren’t 100% secure; creative hackers have created ways around these by stealing the credentials in real time and entering them while the user is temporarily blocked from accessing his account.

The best ways to stay protected? Practice safe browsing. Safeguard your personal information. Avoid spam and suspicious links. And most importantly, scan your computer frequently.