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Emergency 101: Cybersecurity

Protecting ourselves from cybercrime and cyberattacks

 

by Benton Best - January 10, 2018

In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that 84% of American Adults use the internet, including 58% of senior citizens. As connectivity to the Internet of Things continues to build out, we rely more and more on technology we can’t physically see or touch. So what does this mean for our financial safety and security? It means we need to protect ourselves from cybercrime and cyberattacks.

There are a number of groups and individuals who can pose a threat to the common internet user. These include individuals, criminal & terrorist organizations, other state actors, or even hacktivists, or hackers striving for a specific cause.

There are also many motivations for cybercrime, including notoriety, the spread of disinformation, public exposure of private information, profit, espionage and retribution.

Regardless of the actor or the cause, however, it is up to you as an individual internet user to ensure that you are adequately protected. Today we’ll provide some tips on how you can better safeguard yourself and your family over the internet.

First, it is always important to maintain good cyber hygiene. This means maintaining safeguards over usernames and passwords, and making sure not to click on anything if we aren’t sure what it is or who it’s from.

We all have dozens of accounts which require a password, but should resist the urge to have the same username and password for all of them. It’s also best not to have a document or spreadsheet saved on our devices with a list of usernames and passwords. Your primary email address and financial accounts should all have separate passwords from each other, so that a hacker cannot obtain information from one and use it to access all of your important accounts.

Next, be sure to perform regular operating system updates on your computer or mobile device. Yes, these may be time consuming and bothersome at times, but they actually provide the latest security protection to your device based on recent cyber attacks around the world.

It is VERY important to have an up-to-date anti-virus on your desktop computer or laptop. Computers connected to the internet are regularly hit with attempted hacks. A hacker can even take over your computer without you even knowing it. Anti-viruses are only the first line of protection, so they’re essential to maintaining a safe environment.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for emails and other correspondence from people you don’t know, or with links in them. DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING if you don’t know what it is. Hackers have the ability to take over your friend’s email accounts, or even clone them so that it appears that the email is actually coming from your friend. Always check the “details” section of the “to” and “from” lines on an email before clicking on any links.

The most common types of cyber attacks occurring every day are Phishing Scams, or links which try to clone your computer, and Ransomware Attacks when hackers freeze your computer and demand a ransom in order to restore access to your files. Always maintain a separate backup of your most important files on another device in order to deny the effects of a potential ransomware attack.

Lastly, it is important to report any time you have been the victim of cybercrime. Although it may often not result in a conviction with restitution, it is important to report each crime so that law enforcement can eventually connect the dots on repeat predators.

To report a cyberattack, go to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or “IC3” at www.ic3.gov and complete a report.

Finally, did you know you can actually get cybersecurity insurance? It’s true. And while Cybersecurity insurance can’t protect you from cybercrime, it can keep you or your business on stable financial footing should a significant event occur.

For more information on cybersecurity and the prevention of cybercrime, please visit ready.gov/cybersecurity.

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Benton Best

Videography: Andrew Moore

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Benton Best

 

Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, First Citizens Community Bank

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