Five Things You Should Know About Cyber Security

In this age of technology and communication convergence, you cannot help but be involved in technologies and innovations that revolve around computers, cellular phones and the World Wide Web. But as we go around our daily lives with these technologies, there are times that we are vulnerable to cyber security breaches. October 2015 marks the 12th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Here are five facts you should know about cyber security this month:

1. PASSWORDS MATTER. One of the weakest links in cyber security remains the human component, with weak password still being a major culprit. The three worst passwords of 2014 are "123456," "password," and "12345678," the same passwords that were identified as weak nearly ten years ago. Take time to update and strengthen your passwords and ideally use different passwords for different websites. Pass phrases are typically stronger than passwords. “A pass phrase that includes capital and lowercase letters as well as special characters (i.e. & * $ !) are even stronger.”

2. SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES EASY TARGETS. Social media has become a major target for hackers as an easy place to send phishing links or websites that download viruses to your computer or con you into giving personal information. More than 600,000 accounts are compromised every day on Facebook through this or similar methods.

3. COMPANIES AT RISK TOO. In the past four years there has been a rise in large companies that have been compromised by hackers impacting millions of customers. These are 5 of the most prominent.

  1. Epsilon (March 2011)- tens of millions affected

  2. Sony (April 2011)- 77 million customers affected

  3. Zappos (January 2012)- 24 million customers affected

  4. Target (December 2013)- 110 million customers affected

  5. Home Depot (September 2014)- 56 million customers

This goes to show that even the most prominent companies can fall victim to hackers – make sure to monitor your bank accounts and credit as frequently as possible.

4. ONE IN FIVE IMPACTED. One in five online adults (21 percent) has been a victim of either social or mobile cybercrime. The majority of them are millennials rather than baby boomers and shows that the more you use modern technology the more vulnerable you potentially are. Be sure to always be cognizant of “where you are” in the Internet – are you on a site that you can trust to keep your private information? Did you click a suspicious email to get there? When in doubt a simple Google search with the company or site’s name can often stop you from becoming a victim.

5. EDUCATION IS THE KEY. Humans remain the weakest link in the security of most networks, so training and education are critical. For more information about cyber security, check out Business Safe Online today.