Cybersecurity and You

In Category: Security Tips

cybersecurityAs National Cybersecurity Awareness month comes to an end, the effort to remain safe and secure while online still continues. Hopefully, you’ve taken some precautions since last month’s blog post that offered tips to keep your information safe online. If not, consider getting into the routine of protecting yourself online data against cyber attacks.

To give you an idea of how susceptible we all are to cyber crime, here are some shocking statistics about cybersecurity:

  • There’s almost 1 million malware threats each day! These attacks mostly impact companies and organizations that don’t keep up with securing their networks or updating their organization’s computer software, etc. This makes it really easy for hackers to gain access, especially through email which seems to be the most popular way to go about it. How does this affect you, you ask? You most likely work for one of these affected companies. When a company gets hacked, the chances that your personal information was hacked as well, increases. (Source: money.cnn.com)
  • 99% of computers have software such as Java and Adobe Flash which make them more vulnerable to security breaches because of spam banner ads that look like updates from those companies. Have you ever clicked on or almost clicked on a banner ad that prompted you to update your Adobe Flash or Java software? Nearly all of these banners are spam ads, waiting for you to click them so you unwittingly install malware on your computer. (Source: heimdalsecurity.com)
  • Cyber attacks cost American companies about $250 billion a year, and companies all over the world $1 trillion! That’s an insane amount of money. According to the Director of National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, this insurmountable amount of money is the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.” (Source: propublica.org)
  • Identity theft cost regular folks like us about $5,131 per each instance in 2014. Can you afford to have this happen to you? Most of these crimes were due to misuse of a credit card or bank account and happened to individuals between the ages of 18-24 or 35-49. According to those simple statistics, how likely is it that you’ll fall victim to a cyber crime? (Source: statisticbrain.com)

Now that you’re more aware of just some of the shocking cybersecurity statistics, what are some things you can do right now at home to protect yourself? Well, here are some things:

Start with your home’s wi-fi internet.

  • Secure Your Wireless Router
  • Follow these quick steps and you’ll be closer to a hacker-proof, cyber-secure home.
  • Change the name of your router
  • Change the pre-set password on your router and change it every few months
  • Secure your wi-fi
  • Create a guest password if possible
  • Use a firewall for further protection

Cover up your computer’s webcam.

Some hackers can hack into your computer and spy on you from your own web camera! A few ways to prevent this from happening to you is to:

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  • Be mindful of who you let work on your computer and that they aren’t installing any malware or spyware.
  • Cover up your webcam when it’s not in use by placing a piece of tape or paper over it.

Secure your cell phone, tablets, and other mobile devices.

We all love our cell phones, tablets, and wearables and how easy they make our lives by keeping us connected to the world. But just how connected are we? Too connected, in fact, making it easy for hackers to access our personal data from our mobile devices without us knowing until it’s too late. Hackers use the very same technology that’s in our mobile devices to keep us connected, to steal our information and cause us damage.

Here are the most common ways hackers penetrate your mobile devices:

  • Your GPS. Your phone can track your physical location at all times so be sure to turn off your GPS settings and only turn it on when and if needed.
  • Your Bluetooth. Just like with GPS, you should only turn on your Bluetooth when you need it. Hackers love to access your phone’s data via Bluetooth so if you’re not using it, turn it off.

The items we covered in this month’s and last month’s articles are just a sample of items that don’t even begin to scrape the surface of what you can do to prevent a cyber attack. There are more things you can do. However, everything we’ve explained thus far is a necessary step to take to have a safer online presence and avoid a cyber attack in the future.

We hope that you take your online security as seriously as you do your home security.