Cybersecurity: Your Protection and Your Weapon Against Cyber Attacks

Wednesday February 7, 2018

In today’s world, everything is done on a computer over the internet. Most of our important files are saved on mobile devices and we access the internet almost 24 hours a day. Bank transactions are made on laptops. Valuable information is exchanged via email with an internet connection. Files are transferred via Bluetooth or over Wi-Fi.

I’m sure you store important data on your computer too. What if one day, someone gains access to your computer and all your data? This data can be stolen or used for the wrong purposes. To prevent this from happening, we must work on securing both our hardware and software. Our reliance on computers and the internet has grown so much that the need to protect them has become an essential factor to consider.

Cybersecurity is the technology that is designed to protect your computer from any type of unauthorised access. Cybersecurity regulations provide directives for companies to protect themselves from cyberattacks and safeguard their respective information and computer systems. The biggest enterprises aren’t safe from cyber attacks, and the small businesses are no exception. Helping government and military with mobile user data by automatically pulling it from their phones, Cellebrite received a shock when 900GB of data that contained personal and sensitive information of their customers got hacked. WannaCry Ransomware is no secret to the UK public as it specifically hacked computers of the healthcare institutions and caused medical treatments to be delayed that could have ended up with casualties.

There are several laws that protect us from cyberattacks like the Computer Misuse Act of 1990 that bans unauthorized access to computers. The Data Protection Act of 1998, on the other hand, regulates the processing of information and disclosing it. Other cybersecurity regulations include the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the 2002 Homeland Security Act. As cybersecurity becomes a worldwide concern, Australia has also stepped up its game, and the proof lies in the data breach reporting laws that all “covered” entities will have to follow come February 22, 2018. Is the new legislation just a scare tactic to tighten up their security infrastructures? No, the government is very serious about these new developments. You violate the law as an organisation, and you could end up with $1.8 million in penalties only. Violate the law as an individual and your penalties will still be as high as $360,000.

Everyone should be aware of the need for cybersecurity. By practicing it, you can protect yourself from cyberattacks. Big companies are not the only targets for malicious unauthorized access nowadays. Individuals can be victims too. So how will you protect yourself from cyberattacks? Here are a few tips that will help you:

  1. Ignore strangers. Your parents’ warning to avoid strangers can be applied to your cyber life too. Never open files or links that you receive from people you don’t know. Avoid opening emails that say you won something or that you owe something unless it is from an email you recognize. Many phishing links come from these emails and those have warning signs written all over them.
  2. Update regularly. Your operating system, servers and CMS system is made and developed to provide you with the latest security developments. Thus, as soon as there is a security update, it’s highly recommended to do so.
  3. Be unique. Passwords are meant to be unique and should not be shared with anyone. You may think this is overused advice, but it is a very important one. Many people still use their birthdays as passwords. To create an effective password, it is best to choose a word that people may not associate with you. This way, they will not be able to predict what your password is.
  4. Review your accounts. Some people rarely check their accounts that they get duped without knowing it. If you review your accounts regularly, you’ll easily find any fraudulent transactions. You should also review your settings in your social media accounts. You can always edit them according to your preferences. Refrain from clicking suspicious links that your friends share.
  5. Value your privacy. Sensitive information should never be shared to anyone no matter how close you are to them.
  6. Use Wi-Fi securely. Refrain from using public Wi-Fi networks, especially if you are conducting important transactions. Public Wi-Fi networks pose a threat to your devices’ security and make you vulnerable to cyberattacks. Save your business transactions for a more secure internet connection.

Now, there is no reason why your business should not act proactively to protect itself and customer data from cyber attacks. Either has an in-house IT team that understand cybersecurity and the prevailing laws and industry standards about cybersecurity or look for third-party solutions if you don’t have the budget to manage an in-house system for security. An IBM study on data breaches shows that a data breach on average can cost a business up to $3.62 million. Keep in mind that this is just an average—the costs can vary from business to business. A data breach at a large organization can easily cost them multiple million dollars in addition to the loss of reputation and customer trust.

Always remember that security should not be neglected at all costs. Be safe and be aware of how to practice cybersecurity in your daily life.

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