Cyber Security

In acknowledgment of Cyber Security Day, let’s talk about the types of cyber crimes, cyber risks, and prevention.

This year, studies conducted by a research group called Nielson showed that on average, Americans spend nearly 11 hours a day using electronics. Whether it be a computer, tablet, or a cell-phone, the average screen-time for Americans is almost HALF of our day. How often are you using your electronics?

The use of computers became more common in America in the 1980s. Since then, the rate of cyber crimes have continued to increase dramatically–especially due to the evolvement of technology and the availability of the Internet.

What are a few types of cybercrime?

Identity theft: impersonating another person using their stolen information

Computer fraud: using computer systems to deceive others for personal gain

Privacy violation: includes exposing others’ personal information such as phone numbers and addresses

Electronic funds transfer: illegal transfers of money via unauthorized access to online banking

What are the top cyber risks?           

  1. Human error. It’s happened to all of us. We misplace our electronic devices, such as our laptops and smartphones. Also, they can get stolen if we don’t keep track of them. These devices contain our sensitive, personal information.
  2. Hacker. Hackers are able to pinpoint weaknesses in computer systems or networks and take advantage of them to gain access. Hackers use computers as tools to commit crimes involving fraud, data theft, and invasion of privacy.
  3. “Phish”. To phish means for someone to pose as a trustworthy service in attempt to get your personal information. Phishers will email you pretending to be a company, such as your bank, with a link to a website that looks legitimate and similar to the actual website. The link will be asking you to input your personal information.
  4. Data leakage. Misplacing your electronics, such as your laptop, smartphone, or USB storage, can be a risk for the sharing of your personal information if the wrong person get their hands on it.
  5. Ransomware. This is a form of malicious software, called malware, that sometimes appears in the form of an email. It will encrypt your hard drive and lock you out of the system, while hackers are threatening to release important data until you pay money to “unlock” it.

            How can I use cyber security to prevent a cyber crime against me? 

  • Use security software. Antivirus software will scan your computer, detecting unsafe database, and delete it from your computer.
  • Watch the websites you are visiting. A URL that does not begin with “https” poses a threat to your device. In the slot where you type your website URL in, there will be a locked padlock that tells you the website you are viewing is secure.
  • Create strong passwords. One of the easiest ways to prevent your information from being stolen is to use long passwords. Create your password with special characters (!?-.#*), and be clever with where you use uppercase letters. This makes it difficult for hackers to guess your password.
    • Pro tip: Do not use the same password for every log-in. If you do, a hacker that guesses your password can log-in as you to any site you have an account on.
  • Be cautious when it comes to online banking. Consistently change your passwords for your online bank accounts. Monitor the account nearly everyday to ensure there’s no suspicious activity going on. Do not send any private information via email.
  • Be careful what you share on your social media accounts.

Today is Cyber Security Day. Acknowledge the day by strengthening your passwords and updating your anti-virus software on your computer. It’s important to be aware of the risks that are involved with using your electronic devices.

By: KayLynn P.

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