Cyber security is one of the most important issues of our time. It’s so important that in the 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama is promoting the notion of government sharing data about cyber threats with private companies to better combat the issue.
He said, “We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.” If cyber security is at the forefront of the nation’s security threat checklist, then it should also be an important aspect of every personal and business venture. Unfortunately, most private citizens and small businesses don’t pay as much attention to the threat as they should.
Why Is Cyber Security Important?
Cyber security compromises can threaten the national government, large and small businesses, as well as parents and children. No one is exempt from the threats posed online. For individuals and families cyber security can mean protecting important things like family photos, videos, or important electronic documents. The financial security of families can also be compromised through malicious intent. To a hacker, stealing several thousand dollars and wiping clean a hard drive from a family may be a good score, but for the family it can be personally and financially devastating.
Small, medium, and large businesses also face many cyber security challenges. These challenges are not up to the IT department or security department of the company. These are up to every individual in the company and is a shared cyber security responsibility. In fact, many organizations lack sufficient infrastructure to successfully wage war against cyber attacks. This means that everyone in an organization should be intimately aware of security threats and how to combat them on a personal and constant basis. Having intellectual property stolen which is vital to the organization can devastate any business.
How To Fight Cyber Attacks
Almost 80% of every cyber crime came first in the form of an email. phishing is a term used in cyber security that pertains to these types of emails. These emails are used to solicit personal and financial information. They usually come in the form of a legitimate looking bank, credit card or financial source. These emails request personal and business information through legitimate looking means. Never open attachments or click on links within these emails if the source is unknown.
Everyone should be well-versed in how to use passwords and passcodes on their computers and mobile devices. Passwords should never be in the form of personal identifiable information. Birthdays, maiden names, marriage dates, and so on are the easiest for hackers to break through. Instead of passwords use passphrases. These are a combination of words that cannot be easily guessed. Change your password regularly. Mobile devices must be locked with passcodes. And highly sensitive information within the phone should also have a passcode attached to it. This places two, three, or even more layers of security on a mobile device.
Keep all operating systems, web browsers, and security software up-to-date. The reason there are constant updates for these things is that they are constantly under attack from cyber threats. Software engineers are always learning these vulnerabilities and fixing them making the software more secure. When software updates are indicated on your machine make sure you follow the instructions and update. This goes for all mobile devices as well.
The Costs Are Very Large
The financial cost of cybercrime is staggering. McAfee estimated that one trillion dollars was spent globally on cybercrime. Symantec estimated that the cost of IP theft in the United States was $250 billion a year. Families and households also pay a hefty price. The average cost of a cyber attack on a household ranges from $1000 – $5000. Companies and people are very vulnerable if they’re not paying attention to what is happening on a daily basis. Ignoring cyber threats or becoming complacent can cost people, communities, and large organizations dearly. The importance of cyber security has never been greater.
Rick Delgado is a tech guru. From the latest gadgets to securing networks for major businesses to protect against advanced malware, Rick has seen and wrote about it all. Rick has over 12 years of professional experience in technology and is currently a freelance writer in Park City, UT.