Are your Internet habits making you an easy target for cybercriminals?
July 13th 2015
The motivation for the vast majority of cyberattacks is money, and with more and more financial transactions taking place over the Internet, cybercriminals are looking to benefit from this.
The current cybercriminal profile has shifted from an amateur to a professional. Today, they want to make money, are very well organised, and it is their full time job to attack sites.
How disciplined are you about data security and the Internet?
Today, most people have a number of devices at their disposal, be it a desktop PC, tablet or smartphone and most devices have Internet connectivity. We use them for business and personal activities daily, including emailing, online banking and shopping, social networking, activity tracking, and finding out how to get to from A to B.
Despite the amount of time that we spend on these devices and the degree of personal information that they store, many of us do not protect them sufficiently.
In our defence, there are so many risks and threats that it is often difficult to keep track of what we should be looking out for. There are scams, rootkits, malware, viruses, Internet hoaxes, spyware, denial of service attacks, data theft, data corruption, social engineering attacks, spam, compromising photos, and the list goes on and changes daily.
What are the security threats posed by cybercrime?
At the centre of most cyber threats is the risk of theft of our personal data. To know how to protect this data, we firstly need to know what we must protect. We need to detail what data we have, where we have it, and we need to establish if we actually need it to be there e.g. storing your credit card details in an online store account.
The type of data targeted by cybercriminals is varied and it includes:
- ID Numbers: PPS Numbers, passport
- Financial Records: credit / debit cards, bank accounts
- Medical Records: healthcare status, insurance benefits, and health payment history
- Intellectual Property: trade secrets, technology licensing
- Business Secrets: plans, financial reports, legal documents
- Sensitive Customer Information
- Personal Information: date of birth, mother's maiden name and phone numbers
Are you putting your data at risk?
When it comes to data and data security, if you do any of the following then you are putting your data at risk:
- Not knowing what your data is
- Not knowing where your data is stored
- Storing all of your data in a single place or in a lot of places
- Not backing up data
- Reusing the same password for different services
- Blindly believing everything you read in an email or on the Internet
Tips to improve the security of your data?
- Use reasonably complex passwords to protect your computer.
- It is a good idea to establish your own password management strategy and use this to generate passwords.
- Never share your password with anyone, leave it on a post-it or save it in your browser.
Security lock on Computer or Mobile Device
- Depending on your device, there will be a number of options for locking it when not in use, such as a PIN code, a fingerprint scan or a password. Always activate this in the most secure way possible.
Sharing information online
- Be careful of how much information that you give when filling in forms online. If it is not as legal requirement, you do not need to supply all the requested information and you do not have to give your correct date of birth, full name, or personal information.
- It is important to install anti-spam, antivirus and web filtering solutions and to keep these up to date. If your device is on a network, you should set it to update automatically. Vendors fix identified security issues or bugs by releasing patches and if you do keep your software updated then you are vulnerable to attack.
- Never install software that is from an unknown source or that your IT department has banned.
- Phishing uses email to try to get sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card information, from an individual by pretending to be a trusted person or business e.g. financial institution, a household brand or even your manager. It is important to be aware of what information companies will never ask for via email e.g. a financial institution will never ask for your pin number. If in doubt, ask before supplying any information.
At IT Force, we deliver solutions that will defend your IT infrastructure from unwanted attack, protecting your valuable data and assets. For more information call us on 01 5546 000 or fill in the form below.
The original and full version of this article can be located by clicking the link below.
Understanding how security assumptions can put your data at risk