Cybersecurity is a very important field in the modern age. Whether you know it or not, there are dangerous vulnerabilities all around us that even relatively inexperienced cyber criminals can exploit. A concerning number of devices we interact with on a daily basis are vulnerable, including more obvious devices, like our phones and computers, as well as smart home devices (lights, thermostats, Amazon Echo, etc.), cars, gas mains and even traffic lights.
Cyberattacks happen ridiculously often. In the past few years, many big companies have been hacked, exposing their customers’ personal data. In 2017, Equifax was the target of a huge data breach; almost one hundred fifty million people’s information was compromised, including names, addresses, date of birth, driver’s license numbers, social security numbers and credit card numbers. Cybercrimes cost trillions of dollars annually across the globe. With the increasing threat of cyberattacks, it is important to stay proactive, take responsibility for your own cybersecurity and limit your vulnerability.
Why is cybercrime so prevalent? It mainly comes down to how simple it is to commit. Cybercrime inexpensive, requiring just a little more than a computer and internet connection. It isn’t particularly difficult, especially since you can often find scripts to base their attacks for hacking online. Finally, it is difficult to identify and prosecute cybercrimes, since many times the victim doesn’t even know they’ve been hacked.
In protecting yourself from cyberattacks, the best ways to keep yourself safe online is to use common sense when downloading or opening files, update all of your software whenever it is available and run antivirus software on your devices.
Whenever you download or open a file, make sure you consider the source. Is the website or sender reputable? This can prevent you from downloading malicious files. Another important step is to update your software. A very common form of cybercrime is a zero-day exploit, in which a hacker takes advantage of a software’s vulnerability very soon after it is figured out such that the creator has no time to fix the system that is being hacked. Not only does this make it important for companies to be vigilant and push out updates to remove the vulnerabilities, it also explains how essential it is for individuals to update their software once it is available, otherwise they are still vulnerable. Finally, it is very helpful to have antivirus software. It can sometimes save you from malicious files that look harmless, but it should never be your only line of defense.
Now more than ever, it is incredibly important to understand the reality of cybercrime; while you may be safe right now, you are never truly untouchable online. In today’s world, where technology and society are inseparable, cyber criminals are capable of affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, but taking steps to make yourself safer online is never out of reach.