Ways to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime
We live in a technology-driven world, with everything from our refrigerators to our smartphones being internet capable and connected to the world at large.
Although technology has brought about several innovations that have made our lives easier, it also is arguably the single largest threat to the public that exists in the 21st century.
Cybercrime has been exponentially on the rise with no signs of slowing down any time soon. The latest research estimates that cybercrime nets criminals over $1.5 TRILLION in profits yearly. To put that in perspective, $1.5 trillion is on par with the entire GDP of Australia.
When we think of cybercrime, we often think of “hacking”. But the ways in which cybercrime can impact you, your family or business go well beyond simple hacks.
Types of Cybercrime:
- Ransomware attacks
- Malicious encryption or deletion of data
- Malware and adware attacks
- Crypto mining, crypto-jacking
- Identity theft
- Leaking or stealing data
- Manipulation of data
- Trade secret theft
- Violations of privacy
- Revenge porn
- Human and sex trafficking
- And more…
According to data from the National Computer Security Survey conducted by the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, a 2005 survey found that out of those surveyed:
- 67% were able to identify at least one cybercrime
- 60% experienced multiple types of attacks or attempts at attack
- 11% reported cyber theft
- 24% reported security incidents
- 68% of victims sustained monetary losses
But that’s not all, according to cybersecurity leader McAfee and Symantec:
- Over 780,000 records PER DAY were stolen in 2018 alone
- 24,000 malicious apps are identified and blocked daily
- Attacks on healthcare information quadrupled
- 30% of phishing emails in the USA are OPENED
- 300 billion stolen passwords on the market
- An average of 300,000 cyber-related crimes are reported to the FBI yearly
And since then the numbers have only gotten worse. If your, your business or your family have been the victim of cybercrime, or have been unfairly accused of participating in cybercrime, contacting a cybercrime defense attorney is a critical first step in ensuring that your rights are upheld and that your name is cleared.
How to Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime
Use a Full-Service Security Suite
Your first line of defense is often the anti-virus suite on your home PC or computer. Such software provides a myriad of protections such as regular scanning of files, quarantining of suspicious code, and warnings about website or URLs that might be trying to steal your information.
Strong, Unique Passwords
We cannot stress enough the importance of using strong, unique passwords for every site you have an account on. Each site should have its own unique password. Each password should be at least a minimum combination of 10 or more characters, including a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols. Having trouble remembering all of those long funky passwords? Consider using a password manager such as LastPass.
Keep Software Updated
Software updates aren’t just about performance and updated features. Many software updates include patches for security vulnerabilities or exploits. It is common for hackers to scan for and identify systems using outdated versions of software to attack.
Manage Social Media Settings
Social media is a key target for malicious actors. Information from your profile, pictures, and more can all aid them in phishing attempts, impersonation, and password recovery from other websites. Lock down your profiles so that ONLY your friends can see your personal information.
Turn On 2-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is supported by most major companies. This feature allows you to require that a text message with an authorization code be sent to you before gaining access to sensitive accounts such as your bank account. You will be texted every time someone (including you) attempts to log in. You will be sent a code that will need to be inputted in order to gain access to the account, even if the password was correct.
Only Visit and Click on Trustworthy Links and Sites
Use good judgement and stick to those sites that are trustworthy and reputable. When it comes to clicking on links, especially in email, consider visiting the site directly from your address bar or by searching Google (in the event that you have concerns).
Strengthen Your Home Network
Update the password on your Wi-fi. Consider using a VPN that encrypts all communications across your internet service provider.
With cybercrime on the rise, and with the stakes so high, we all need to do our part to protect ourselves, businesses and families from digital threats. By following the steps in this guide you can easily increase cybersecurity, reduce risk and sleep a little bit easier at night.
Update Your Passwords Often!