Online and At-Risk: Why Cyber Security Awareness Matters To Everyone
Are you familiar with the following signs found in public places?
- Please double-check to see that you have your wallet, phone, and other personal belongings before leaving the premises.
- Sorry. We are not liable for guarding your personal items. You may take it, you may leave it, but if you lose it, it’s not on us.
- Management is not responsible for belongings left behind unattended. If itʼs yours… Take it. Hide it. Keep it.
Because of signs such as these, we have become very cautious when it comes to leaving our belongings unattended when we are not around. That’s why when we are in a public place, we do not leave our purse, wallet, phone, tablet or laptop unattended while we use the restroom. We don’t leave our doors unlocked while we go on vacation, we don’t share our home address with people we don’t know, and we don’t leave the keys in the ignition, even when we’re only running into the store for a minute.
So why don’t we exercise the same caution when it comes to cyber-security? Cyber-security is imperative for anyone who uses the internet regardless of background, or level education.
Know the Risk
You’ve probably entered your personal financial information into hundreds of websites over the years, right? Have you ever taken the time to find out if you’ve been affected by a data breach? 64% of the people polled by Varonis haven’t.
You might assume that if there were a breach, the company in question would let you know, and they would tell you the next steps to take, right? That’s what consumer-facing companies are supposed to do, but when Uber had a data breach affecting over 57 million people, they paid the hackers a six figure ransom in order to try and keep the whole thing under wraps, knowing how costly the bad press resulting from the breach would be.
In 2017, an Equifax breach affected over 147 million people and cost the bank more than four billion dollars. The infamous Friendfinder breach that same year hit over four hundred million users, more than the total population of the United States. Data breaches aren’t something that only affect the unlucky few. Probability says that we’re all going to have some critical information leaked sooner or later, and we need to be prepared for when that happens.
It’s not just big cyber attacks, of course. A lowball estimate suggests that 92% of all malware is delivered via email, and around half of all corporate breaches affect small businesses, and that includes the self-employed, freelancers and work-from-home entrepreneurs. Hackers would love to crack a big bank or a major eCommerce site, but failing that, they’re more than happy to hit individual civilians with ransomware and password-loggers.
We’re not telling you this to try to scare you, but to illustrate a few important points:
- Your information is out there, and data breaches happen all the time
- To a large extent, our online safety is in our own hands
- The risk can be managed
We don’t all need to be experts, per se, but anyone who spends any amount of time on a connected device needs to have basic cyber-security literacy.
Everyone Means Everyone
We’re not here to debate when you should introduce your children to tablets and other devices. As a parent, it’s up to you to decide whether your children are ready, and how much time they should be spending on screens. But, if your kids are on a screen,device, then they are introducing additional cyber-security risks. Malware is never more than a few errant clicks away. If you go into your spam folder right now, you can probably find dozens of harmful links, and so can your kids. And even if they don’t bother digging through your emails, we’ve all heard stories of toddlers racking up credit card bills not realizing what they were doing.Apple users love to boast that their devices are virus-proof, but we could point you to more than a few cybersecurity pros who will tell you that that’s not exactly so. That false sense of security only encourages users to let their guards down, and with or without the assistance of malware, cyber-criminals can still work their magic through social engineering and phishing attempts.
Suppose you only use a phone or a tablet, and you don’t even own a laptop. Well, one in thirty-six of these devices have been found to host a high-risk app. And yes, your smart-fridge is at risk, too.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is simple: If you run a business, cyber security needs to be part of your training, and the same goes if you run a household.
We’re all online, and we’re all at risk. It may seem like there’s a lot to learn, but all it really comes down to is knowing how these guys attack, and how you can cut them off, and our free cybersecurity awareness training videos are here to show you and your team how to do just that.