Cybercrime is an ongoing threat.
You might think that the only form of cybercrime to worry about is cybercriminals stealing your financial information. But it may not be so simple. There are far more concerns than just basic financial ones. Cybercrime continues to evolve, with new threats surfacing.
My niece works for a large firm in Atlanta whose employer was victim to a cybercrime where they hijacked all of their computer data demanding a ransom. It virtually shut their business down. They could not access any of their data. This went on for weeks as the authorities got involved. It had a happy ending, but it crippled their production.
Stories like this may make people and businesses leery of using the Internet. Instead of letting the cybercriminal deter your ability to operate, it’s a better idea to know how to recognize cyberthreats in the first place. This is the first step to helping protect yourself and your data. Taking some basic precautions and knowing who to contact when you see others engaged in criminal activities online are also important steps.
You might want to learn how to prevent cyberthreats, but here’s the thing: You can’t. You can, however, take precautions to help protect against it.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any crime that takes place online or primarily online. Cybercriminals often commit crimes by targeting computer networks or devices. Cybercrime can range from security breaches to personal information theft.
Other cybercrimes include things like “revenge porn,” cyber-stalking, harassment, bullying, and child sexual exploitation. Terrorists can also collaborate on the internet, moving terrorist activities and crimes into cyberspace.
How to protect yourself against cyberthreats.
Anyone using the internet should exercise some basic precautions. Here are 8 tips you can use to help protect yourself against cyberthreats out there.
1. Use a full-service internet security suite
For instance, Norton Security provides real-time protection against existing and emerging malware including ransomware and viruses, and helps protect your private and financial information when you go online.
2. Use strong passwords
Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites and change your passwords regularly and always create strong passwords using a combination of at least 10 letters, numbers, and symbols.
3. Keep your software updated
This is especially important with your operating systems and internet security software. Cybercriminals frequently use known exploits, or flaws, in your software to gain access to your system. Patching those exploits and flaws can make it less likely that you’ll become a cyberthreat target.
4. Manage your social media settings
Keep your personal and private information secure on social media. Cybercriminals can often get your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share publicly, the better. For instance, if you post your pet’s name or reveal your mother’s maiden name, you might expose the answers to two common security questions.
5. Strengthen your security on Wi-Fi
It’s a good idea to start with a strong encryption password as well as a virtual private network when using public Wi-Fi. A VPN (short for virtual private network) will encrypt all traffic leaving your devices until it arrives at its destination. If cybercriminals do manage to hack your communication line, they won’t intercept anything but encrypted data. It’s a good idea to use a VPN whenever you a public Wi-Fi network, whether it’s in a library, café, hotel, or airport.
6. Have ongoing dialogue with your children
You can teach your kids about acceptable use of the internet without shutting down communication channels. Make sure they know that they can come to you if they’re experiencing any kind of online harassment, stalking, or bullying.
7. Keep up to date on major security breaches
If you do business with an online retailer or have an account on a website that’s been impacted by a security breach, find out what information the cybercriminals accessed and change your password immediately.
8. Take measures to help protect yourself against personal information theft
Personal information theft can occur when someone wrongfully obtains your personal data in a way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. How? You might be tricked into giving personal information over the internet, for instance, or a cybercriminal might steal your post to access account information mailed to you. That’s why it’s important to guard your personal data by using a reputable security suite to help protect your sensitive information
In a way, fighting cybercrime is everybody’s business. Think of it as an obligation to do your part in the fight against cybercrime. For most people, that means following a few simple, common-sense steps to help keep yourself and your family safer. Be aware and be vigilant.