October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has been organizing this every October for 17 years and encourages individuals and organizations alike to play their part in protecting cyberspace with personal accountability and proactive steps. Here are 4 of the largest cyber threats and what you can do to help prevent them from happening at home or in the workplace.
This is one of the most profitable and widespread tools currently used by cyber criminals. It will infect the user’s machine and lock down every file it finds that has encryption, then demand payment online to retrieve a key that will unlock the data. Ransomware attacks accounted for over 70% of malware incidents in the healthcare field during 2017 and 2018.
To avoid letting ransomware into your system, be wary about emails with untrusted sources or suspicious links. Regularly back up your data- this will ensure that you can easily retrieve what you need without “paying a ransom”. An endpoint anti-malware system will be smart enough to detect ransomware, so look into having that installed on your device.
Over 5 billion sensitive records have been compromised in the past year, according to the Online Trust Alliance. Cyber criminals take advantage of the fact that users tend to use the same passwords across multiple sites, making it incredibly easy for information to be stolen. This is why you probably shouldn’t use the same password for a shopping website as your online bank account.
When creating passwords, longer is better. Don’t be afraid to mix and match numbers and letters in an unexpected combination. If multi-factor authentication is available for your more sensitive accounts, use it. There are secure password managers available to keep all of your passwords in one place.
Phishing invites malware onto your system when you accidentally click on a link that contains a virus. Approximately 30% of successful malware attacks use phishing as a way to get sensitive information or money.
When you’re processing emails, be on high alert when you see email addresses that don’t look quite right or suspicious links. They can be highly deceptive, so make sure you’re only clicking on emails from trusted addresses.
This is a relatively new form of cyber attack that can hack into your computer’s system to quietly engage in a process called cryptomining, which gathers online currencies such as bitcoin.
This practice will make your system slow down and overpower your CPU, so be on alert if you notice a drop in activity on your computer. Try to keep an anti-malware solution on your device to detect online criminals and terminate their activity.
By choosing simple preventive measures such as those mentioned above, you’ll be more likely to keep your devices safe and your money in your pocket. Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords or leave them in a spot where they can be easily found. Have a safe Cyber Security Month and all other days ahead!