4 Popular Misconceptions About Your Personal Cybersecurity
Too many people fail to take the time or effort to nurture good cybersecurity habits.
In a way, it’s understandable. Cybercrime only happens to other people, right? Or, it’s a problem for businesses, not individual people, right?
Sadly, that’s not the case. Not taking cybersecurity at home (or the workplace) seriously can result in downtime, loss of money, and a lot of unnecessary hassle.
Here are some things many people misunderstand about online threats.
No one wants my data.
I can understand this. I make enough to pay the bills, but that’s about it. I keep a lot of work on the cloud, but let’s be honest. What cybercrime lord wants a bunch of layout files for film journals, old-time radio scripts, and articles on roofing?
My data is not sexy. My credit is so-so. No high limits to exploit. Therefore, I’m not at significant risk of cyberattack. Right?
Uf. If only it were that so.
Most cybercriminals love little fish like me. If they can lock down my data and get me to pay a ransom, they know the odds of them getting away with it are higher than if they went after a large commercial or government entity. While the expected payout may be small, these people work in volume. If they can get 50 people out of a hundred to pony up $500 to ransomed personal data, that’s $25,000. If they manage this with a bot, they don’t even have to work that hard.
Even if they don’t ransom my data, selling bulk info like bank accounts and credit card numbers on the dark web can make them some decent coin and open you to identity theft and fraud.
So, yeah. Everyone’s data is a target.
My password is enough security.
Strong passwords are a must — no doubt about it. But it’s not enough by itself.
Not if you want more bulletproof security.
Whenever presented with the option, enable multi-factor authentication for an added level of security. This authentication process usually requires you to verify your identity with a temporary code sent to your smartphone or email address.
Those annoying Captcha processes are another method for multi-factor authentication, although it’s more to make sure you’re not a bot. Still, they can be helpful if for no other reason than blocking quick access to your accounts. Don’t dismiss them.
Phishing scams are easy to detect.
Well, it’d be nice to think that we’re far too clever to be taken in by a clumsy phishing attack, and when it comes to clumsy phishing attacks, you’re probably right.
But not all phishing attacks are clumsy. Some are, in fact, quite sophisticated.
In addition to copying logos, color schemes, and other trusted institutions’ brand identifiers, the phrasing of the phishing email can be compelling. Often, it’s a warning regarding your account and that you need to log in immediately to change your password.
Of course, it’s a scam attempting to skim your login information. Obvious in hindsight, but if worded with enough urgency, they can be surprisingly convincing.
How do I know?
Because it’s one of the most popular forms of cyberattack today, and it’s a form of scam that’s been around for decades. Phishing attacks remain profitable enough that cyber criminals keep using them.
Avoid clicking on links embedded in unexpected emails. Know that you will likely not be asked for any login information via email from any reputable bank or other institution. Don’t download invoices or other files you don’t expect, either.
Be suspicious. It’s unfortunate that it’s the way things are, but better safe than sorry.
Anti-virus software will protect me.
Many people install off-the-shelf anti-virus software onto their systems and call it a day, assuming that’s going to be enough to keep them safe.
Unfortunately, there are many ways you can become the victim of a cyberattack. You could fall victim to social engineering probes that try to trick users into giving out personal information. Or a dedicated-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack could cause multiple crashes and interfere with your ability to do business.
And viruses and other malware are constantly evolving. If you don’t keep up with the latest virus profiles for your anti-virus software, then you’ll be leaving yourself vulnerable to more recently-developed threats.
Complacency is your biggest risk.
Infected computers, compromised data, identity theft, and fraud are all possible results of getting complacent with your cybersecurity. There are no targets too small.
If you think crippling cyberattacks are exclusive to large institutions, you’d be wrong.
Save yourself time, money, and aggravation by taking your cybersecurity seriously. Build strong passwords, keep current on anti-virus software and online threats. Use caution when interacting with emails and text messages.
Cybercriminals rely on you not paying attention closely enough. You can beat them by building solid defenses and developing good online habits.
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