When an editor for The Economist (Leo Mirani), received a free mini USB-powered fan at the Singapore summit (where President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met) he chose to not plug it in. He didn't know who made this fan, where exactly it came from, or if it had anything on it. However, he did know that any USB device presents the possibility of malware. Whether it's a fan, thumb-drive, mouse, keyboard (or anything else that plugs into your phone or laptop) it could pose a threat to your security. And when all the journalists at a high-stakes meeting - between two countries who have been known to partake in cyber-warfare - are given USB devices, it's best to err on the side of caution.
The sole objective of any phishing email is to trick you into clicking it. If you aren't vigilant, it can be easy to fall for. It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, or what company you work for, you can be targeted and it's important to know how to protect yourself.
Since Amazon and Uber are so well-known and widely-used, cybercriminals have often chosen them to impersonate. Their aim? To lull you into a false sense of security at seeing the familiar brand name. With the addition of a subject line that will illicit a response, anyone could find themselves clicking on a link before even taking a second to think.
In its earliest days, ransomware wasn’t much of a threat, because it couldn’t actually encrypt data. But that was in the 80's and 90's, those days are long over in the field of technology. Within the past few years, not only has ransomware become a formidable threat but it has also grown exponentially. The world experienced a growth from 3.2 million ransomware attacks in 2014, to 3.8 million in 2015. Then, in 2016, ransomware attacks jumped to a staggering 638 million. Not only did the amount of attacks increase, but the ransoms themselves shot up from an average of $373 per computer in 2014, to $1,077 per computer in 2016. With 241,000 new variants of ransomware created in 2016 (about 660 new variants per day) anti-malware software was struggling to keep up.
Being the target of a cybercriminal is not a fun experience for anyone, but it’s definitely a lot worse if you don’t have a plan to get back on your feet afterwards. Cybercriminals have caught on to the fact that small and midsize businesses don’t spend as much money on IT security, making them easier targets than large, multimillion-dollar companies. It’s important to note that 62% off all cyber-attacks are carried out on SMBs, according to IBM. Additionally, the National Cyber Security Alliance states that about 60% of SMBs who experience a hack, go out of business within a six-month period after the attack.
This year certainly started off with a bang in the world of tech security. It’s not very often that in this day and age, a processor flaw becomes a substantial headline for mainstream news outlets. But when it impacts basically every computer or smartphone made in the past 15 years and could negatively affect billions of tech users, that’s kind of a big deal. Essentially, in the drive to create faster technology, some design decisions were made that unknowingly left our devices vulnerable to attack. However, do keep in mind, that even though Spectre and Meltdown have such a wide-spread possibility to cause harm, thus far there have been no known malicious exploits of these vulnerabilities.
Much like the shiny lures fishermen use to attract their prey, cybercriminals use email attachments or links to try to get you to click through to malicious content. Often using cheap scare tactics, phishing scams will try to induce a quick, panicked response by making you feel like you have something to lose by not clicking on the link. The instant you click, you open yourself up to malware attacks that can cost you financially, technologically, reputationally, and it will definitely eat up time to reverse the damage that was enacted on your device (if you are able to reverse it at all).
Passwords have the key to unlock access to our network of friends, work colleagues, and most importantly our bank accounts. It is imperative to keep our passwords private, diverse, and hard to crack. There are cybercriminals out there spending their days finding the codes to peoples digital accounts and gaining access to their most private information.
While most of us think we know all there is about having a secure password, we are not only making it more complicated then it needs to be, but are still making small mistakes that could make our accounts easily accessible to hackers. Read on to learn the 7 tips to keep your digital accounts secure.
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