By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
What are exploits?
Exploits are programs that can modify a system by targeting a vulnerability or bug in the said system that is unknown to its author. They can come in the form of a string of commands, a collection of data, or malicious software, and are designed to take advantage of a system’s weaknesses, allowing unauthorized users to gain control of the system. This in turn makes it easier for them to alter the way the system works. Exploits are common in Windows devices.
Why are they dangerous?
Because exploits can take advantage of a system’s weaknesses, they can normally be found in the arsenal of cyber crooks. With the help of exploits, these malicious individuals are able to compromise a user’s system in many ways. They can:
- Execute privacy and security breaches;
- Gain administrator privileges on the device;
- Steal user data and files, as well as their identity;
- Infect the device with malware;
- Recruit the device into a botnet;
- Use the device’s resources; and
- Disable the system, among others.
Most exploit attacks are carried out in secret. Hackers actively look for vulnerabilities in systems, and when they find one, they tend to keep it to themselves so they can compromise as many systems as they can. Exploit attacks can be prevented only when the vulnerabilities that they target are discovered and fixed by the system’s authors.
How do you protect your device?
Update your operating system – An operating system (OS) update includes patches to previously known vulnerabilities, so updating your OS reduces your chances of becoming a victim of exploit attacks.
Update your security software – Security software developers continuously test their platforms for vulnerabilities, and they will carry out updates as soon as a vulnerability is found, so always update your security software.
Get the latest version of apps – Just like with security software developers, app developers continuously scan their apps for vulnerabilities, rolling out patches through updates.
Stay away from shady sites – When you visit adult sites and other shady sites, you risk becoming infected with malware that can make your system vulnerable to exploits.
Think before you click – When you encounter a link through an email, a post on social media, or your instant messaging app, make sure to verify the source first.
Use the best security VPN – Some websites carry malicious code, and visiting them can expose your device to exploit attacks. A VPN such as Hotspot Shield can protect your device from exploit attacks by warning you if you’re about to open an infected website. It then blocks the website.
Hotspot Shield, the best security VPN
Hotspot Shield is the best security VPN that can protect your device from web-based exploit attacks, allowing you to surf online without worrying about them.
Using a database of websites that are known to contain malicious payloads, Hotspot Shield blocks attacks by first notifying you about the infected website. To prevent an infection, the website is then blocked from being accessed by you. The database that Hotspot Shield uses is updated regularly to provide consistent protection.
Shore up your defences against exploit attacks by downloading Hotspot Shield!
Get more tips on online privacy, security, malware protection and content access by reading our blog.