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Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Stay Safe Online

Created: 28 Oct 2013 • Updated: 28 Oct 2013
Teresa Law's picture
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According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, cybercrime is one of the main focuses for Cyber Awareness Month:

Cybercrime - Focuses on national and local efforts to prevent traditional crimes like theft, fraud, and abuse that can also take place online

The number of cybercrimes have been going down according to the 2013 Norton Cybercrime report. However, that still equals more than 1 million victims per day globally and $113 billion USD annually, which is enough to host the London Olympics 10 times over.  Although the number of victims were down, the cost per individual has risen by 50 percent, making it more expensive than ever to be a victim.

The threat of cybercrime is not a recent concern, but users still do not take the necessary precautions.   The recent Cybercrime report finds that almost 1/2 of mobile users don’t take basic precautions such as free antivirus software, deleting suspicious email, or even passwords on their mobile phones; tablet users are slightly more security conscious.  Hence, more then 1/3 of users have experienced mobile cybercrime last year.  These basic precautions are necessary since we are easy victims.  As we research the newest techno gadget or the perfect gift, we are more susceptible than we think to cybercrime, given that 61 percent of malicious sites are regular sites that have been comprised and shopping sites are among the most malware infected sites on the internet.

An infected mobile device not only affects us personally, but since 49 percent of us use our personal devices for work, we can easily infect those at work as well.  Sometimes it’s not even us that unknowingly downloads the malware or virus, since almost 1/3 of us let our children use our work device for shopping or game play according to the report.  Infected personal devices are not the only point of vulnerability for businesses. Larger organizations partner with many smaller businesses, something cybercriminals have learned to leverage.  Cybercriminals, deterred by the more stringent defenses of larger organizations, have increasingly targeted small businesses; in fact 50 percent of targeted attacks are directed at small businesses that then infect larger ones.

Symantec recommends some actions to protect yourself and your business:

  1. Learn to recognize a valid website –  look for an https and/or a padlock in your browser; or a browser bar lit up in green
  2. Check for a trust mark like the Norton Secured Seal
  3. Take security precautions – use antivirus software and always use a strong password, if not a stronger form of authentication
  4. Be wary of phishing schemes – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is – be guarded with your personal information (even on social media sites)
  5. Ransomware schemes can look very authentic and ruthless  – even if you pay the requested amount there is no guarantee your computer will be unlocked; avoid marginal websites, pirated software, and unsolicited plug-ins
  6. Keep regular backups and recovery software so you can unlock and recover your computer if necessary

Note: all statistics are from the 2013 Norton Cybercrime report.

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