The National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) makes a point to provide free information and demonstrations to the world in general and Americans in particular regarding the importance of cyber security. And why is cyber security important? Well, let’s take a look.
1. Cybercrime is growing exponentially
In 2012, more than 16 million government and military records were compromised as a result of intentional, malicious data breaches. Over 1.5 million people are victimized by cybercrime every day. When one considers that cybercrime was virtually unheard of no more than a few decades ago, it’s amazing (and somewhat terrifying) to see just how quickly things have escalated.
With the recent surge in mobile smart devices and the near ubiquity of web enabled devices, hackers are only going to grow more determined, and cybercrime is only going to become more prevalent. And although many new smart devices are still relatively safe, older machines are still as vulnerable as ever.
2. Cybercrime is a multi-billion dollar industry
Annually, cybercrime ends up costing its victims an estimated 388 billion dollars, which makes it a larger industry than both cocaine and heroin combined. Not only that, but individual victims often end up paying over a thousand dollars of out-of-pocket expenses to resolve issues related to identity theft.
3. Cybercriminals thrive on ignorance and apathy
Although there are many ways for cybercriminals to attack their victims, there are also many ways to defend against these attacks. Some of the most effective security measures are also some of the simplest to perform. By keeping up to date with cybersecurity programs, being careful when surfing the web, setting up a basic SSL proxy and never opening emails from unknown parties, internet users can go a long way towards protecting themselves, their information, and their identities.
However, many people neglect to learn about good cybersecurity habits or donât want to put in the effort. When this happens, cybercriminals have easy targets.
4. Cybercrime is a national threat
Although we often think of cybercriminals as preying on individuals and corporations, the reality is that cybercrime is a danger on a national level. As services and branches of government become more reliant on internet connectivity, they too become open to online attacks. Our countryâs infrastructure is at risk, and if successfully attacked, can end up leaving citizens without necessary utilities, protection, records, or leadership.
In a worse case scenario, cyberattacks could be used to cripple our nation’s defenses in preparation for an act of war or a terrorist action. In fact, during a senate hearing in March 2013, intelligence officials declared that cyber-based attacks are the most dangerous threats to national security today.
5. Cybercrime is an invasion of privacy
Cybercriminals are usually interested in usable data, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and banking information. However, when a hacker gains access to your computer and begins to look around, he may find things that are even more personal than the PIN you use to pay your online bills. Personal photographs, letters, and other media may get stolen or copied as well. There are many nefarious things that a criminal can do with your personal files.
Taking the message of National Cyber Security Month to heart, we can all do our part to protect ourselves and each other by practicing good cyber security habits. So learn everything you can about cybersecurity, and try to make the future a place where the web is a safe environment for everyone.