For Basic Cybersecurity Principles, Think of Mom
Let’s face it: even the best cybersecurity programs can only do so much. Without some basic cybersecurity common sense, even the best technology in the world can’t save you from falling victim to a cyberattack. Cybercriminals want your data, identity, money, and more, and as Mom will tell you, money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s imperative to protect yourself, which in turn helps you protect others, and allows us all to live in a better digital landscape. Be part of the cybersecurity solution, not the problem. Before someone can say, “You brought this on yourself,” keep these key cybersecurity basics close:
You don’t know where that’s been!
Do not pick up an unknown USB drive and stick it into your computer. Whether you find one in a parking lot or an old desk, or are just handed one unexpectedly, don’t stick it where it doesn’t belong. It could be full of viruses and infect your computer. Because USB drives are small and have a high capacity for data storage, they are notoriously involved in the loss of sensitive information and data breaches. The common-sense rule is: don’t share your USB drive, and don’t stick someone else’s in your computer.
Don’t talk to strangers.
Our innate tendency to trust people makes us vulnerable. Cybercriminals who use social engineering as an online weapon know how to take advantage of this trust. To fight off cyber threats, never open attachments or click on links from people you don’t know. When a new email appears in your inbox and you don’t recognize the address, realize that by simply opening it, or opening its attachment, bad actors can obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, records, money, social security numbers, credit card details, and bank information. Even if an email appears to be from your bank or another organization familiar to you, always ensure it’s coming from a legitimate email address at that business. Your identity, your data, and your money is at stake.
Also, don’t give out your passwords or account information to anyone— not even to your mom!
Oversharing on social media can put your home, office, property, corporate data systems, and loved ones at risk. Publicly posting photos and information—no matter how innocuous it may seem at the time— puts you at risk. Cybercriminals can pick up on your exact location and obtain tons of personal information to use for targeted attacks, tailored just for you because of the information that you willingly gave them.
To communicate on social media, use private messages, private chat, and be aware of your privacy settings. As great as social media can be to connect with people, you should always play a little hard to get. As your mom might say, don’t blab your secrets to the whole world.
They don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Cyberattacks have come a long way. Gone are the days when simple email monitors and anti-virus software were enough to fight cybercrime. Sophisticated, organized cybercrime has changed the global political landscape forever. Cyber-attacks now cost us billions of dollars a year and can shut entire cities down. Cybersecurity is now a part of everyone’s lives. The best protections are no longer simply nice to have, but are must-haves, because they just don’t make cyberattacks like they used to.
Don’t touch that. You’ll pick up a virus.
To avoid contact with a virus, it’s important to exercise caution when surfing the web, downloading files, and opening links or attachments. Never download text or email attachments that you’re not expecting, or files from websites you don’t trust. Viruses are programmed to harm your computer by damaging programs, deleting files, and devastating the hard drive. Even less significant viruses can disrupt your system's performance, deplete computer memory, and cause frequent computer crashes.
Yes, you still need anti-virus software. And yes, you need to keep it up-to-date.
Clean up after yourself.
Clean up your computer. When software is no longer supported, it’s not merely useless— keeping outdated software on your computer is dangerous. When companies stop releasing security patches and end support for a product, hackers jump at the opportunity to target these unpatched vulnerabilities and steal, expose, or hold data for ransom. The vulnerabilities that outdated, end-of-life software expose are low hanging fruit for bad cyber actors. Go clean your computer!
Take some responsibility!
In today’s digital world, everyone has the responsibility to become cybersecurity aware, which includes finding the right protections for your systems and understanding how to implement those protections. It’s up to you to do your part in cybersecurity, and not just rely on systems, organizations, and security professionals. It’s important that every one of us is personally aware of the changing digital landscape and take responsibility for the risk that always accompanies new technologies in our globally connected world.
For more information on how to use technology to stay safe, contact us today at 877-624-3771, or e-mail us anytime at info@NC4.com.
Why? Because we said so.
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