Remember the days when a household would have one computer, and that was only if you were fortunate enough to have one?!
The days when we didn’t do much on a computer other than sending emails with funny cat pictures, and motivational sayings? When leveling-up your cybersecurity wasn’t much of a concern?
Today the average household has not only one, but a growing number of connected devices. A survey in 2016 by Business Insider estimated that by 2020, there would be more than 4 devices for every person on earth! (Source)
Not only is the number of devices growing quickly, but they’re growing smarter as well. As they become smarter, do more tasks for us and become a more integral part of our lives, the bigger the consequences could be to you and your business if they were to be hacked, stolen or under the control of an attacker in some way.
You’re probably thinking:
“Yeah, so what. I don’t have any sensitive information. Attackers would want to go after a company, not me. I don’t need to level-up my cybersecurity.”
And, partly that is right. Companies would seem like a much more lucrative target.
The problem is…
While we are becoming more tech-savvy, so are cyber attackers. They’ve recognized that while large companies have become better at protecting themselves, individuals haven’t had the same opportunity.
Cyber attackers are increasingly targeting individuals because it is easier, more profitable, and requires less investment. The chances of their attack failing are also much lower than going up against the defenses of a company.
Ok, but what if you think you don’t have any sensitive information? Should I still level-up my cybersecurity?
#1 Not all sensitive information is obvious
With convenience comes a lot of sensitive information, though not all of it is obvious.
Not all of this information is what information give to a device or store on a device (such as your email or passwords). But what these devices collect as well (such as your location, or usage patterns).
#2 Attackers aren’t just after your information anymore
While they will take any sensitive information they can get from you to resell later, your information isn’t the only thing attackers are after.
They may want you to do something for them. Such as initiating a fraudulent payment transfer or purchase gift cards and send them the numbers on the card.
They may not want anything from you at all, but instead, use your access and influence for another goal. If you are a trusted partner or executive of a business, they may use your influence to get that business to re-route payments to the attackers’ bank account. They could also use your accounts to publicly humiliate or damage your reputation.
They could even just use your devices as a jumping-off point in part of a larger attack.
#3 Being cyber-aware is becoming an advantage
Employers are becoming more concerned with their employees’ susceptibility to cyber-attacks. Some even review social media as part of the hiring process.
It is also only a matter of time before customers start to prefer companies who are cyber secure or cyber aware.
Being cyber secure yourself will ensure that your online presence doesn’t reveal more than you’d like. It’ll also enable you to translate that cybersecurity to your job or business and do your part in keeping what you do for a living cyber secure.
#4 Setting and forgetting doesn’t work – technology and attacks are constantly changing
Being cyber secure isn’t just changing your passwords once, or buying antivirus and forgetting about it.
Whatever tools and tactics we use to keep ourselves cyber secure today won’t be the same in another decade, nor will cyber attackers be using the same tactics against us either. It is about being able to adapt and evolve your cybersecurity as situations and technologies change and evolve.
#5 No cybersecurity is perfect, stuff will fail
Of course, no cybersecurity is perfect. Good cybersecurity practices will help you create a plan for what to do when everything fails. When your passwords are stolen or information is breached and help decrease the stress when this happens because you have a plan to respond.
It’s no surprise that cyber attackers are becoming more tech-savvy and are increasingly targeting individuals. Protecting yourself and being mindful of your cybersecurity can help you reduce the chances that whatever you do online could impact your finances, reputation, career, business, and even personal safety.
Are you planning to level-up your cybersecurity this year?