The Importance of Cyber Security in Personal Life

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Introduction

Cyber security is a worldwide problem. We live in a highly connected and digital world. We will never be truly be safe from every cyberattack online but we can educate and protect ourselves. Ventures expects ransomware costs will rise to $11.5 billion in 2019 and expected to rise every year. Cybercrime affects national government, big business and average people. The Internet is often under regulated with little to none official security. Questions are beginning to be asked about accountable and solutions to a global and increasingly challenging problem. As solutions to cyber security issues are realized and actions being put into place new attacks and trends arise to take its place. Attacks online come in many different forms and often people don't realize a cyberattack until much later. 48% of data security breaches are caused by acts of malicious intent. To be protected from cyberattacks we first need to know the different types of attacks and the signs to be aware of.

The Different Types of Attacks

Ransomware

Ransomware is when the data on a victim's computer is locked, usually by encryption (the process of encoding a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it and those who are not authorized cannot). Payment is than demanded in return for the ransomed data to be decrypted before access is returned to the victim. Compared to other types of cyberattacks the victim is usually aware that an attack has occurred and given instructions for how to receive their data. Ransomware is usually motivated by money, it can spread through email attachments, infected software apps, infected external storage devices and compromised websites.

Phishing

Phishing is when a cyberattack attempts to gain private or confidential information such as passwords, bank information, and more. Posing as a legitimate individual or institution through phone or email, cyber attackers use social engineering to manipulate victims into performing specific actions, such as clicking a link or attachment or willfully giving confidential information. Compared to ransomware victims don't usually realize anything is wrong until it's too late after their money has left their bank account or data is spotted to be missing.

Hacktivism

Hacktivism is a social or political activist act that is carried out by breaking into and messing with a secure computer system. Hacktivism is usually directed at business or political targets. The people or groups that carry out hacktivism are referred to as hacktivists. This type of attack was made very public in the 2016 US presidential elections when thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails were released to the public. On the other side Wikileaks could be called hacktivists as they have hacked and released government documents.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilizing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources such as IoT devices. From a high level, a DDoS attack is like a traffic jam clogging up with highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its desired destination. These attacks are very commonly addressed towards social media or tech firms as it can crash their platform and can have a long-lasting effect on its business, as it directly affects the customer experience.

Computer Viruses

A computer virus is a small software program that can spread from one computer system to another and cause interference with computer operations. Like a flu virus a computer virus attaches to a host, fighting its way and spreading through the host. Its host can act as a carrier or pass the virus onto another host. A computer virus has the capacity to corrupt or delete data on your computer and it can use an email program to spread the virus to other email addresses in your online address book. At worst, it can even delete everything on your hard disk.

Attack Vectors

The approach used to assault a computer system or network. A fancy way of saying ‘method or type of attack’, the term may refer to a variety of vulnerabilities. For example, an operating system or Web browser may have a flaw that is exploited by a website. Human shortcomings are also used to engineer attack vectors. For example, a novice user may open an email attachment that contains a virus, and most everyone can be persuaded at least once in their life to reveal a password for some seemingly relevant reason.

The Impact of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is now everyone's problem, tech is in our homes, at our work, our schools and in our pockets. This isn't a problem that is going to go away and things might get worse before they get better. The impact of cybersecurity will affect how we interact with our bank, our shopping to our close friends and family. The impacts cybersecurity has on us will change the factors in which business, politics and ourselves view technology. More and more we live in a transparent world, highly connected with online freedom. Should we have to choose between the freedom of the Internet and privacy or piracy. Does more transparency leave us unprotected? Firstly, we need to address where cyberattacks affect us and then we can work out solutions.

Monetary Impacts

Cybercrime has become the new normal and is greatly affecting the financial industry. Every day, attacks are committed against leading companies which were thought to have the most secure systems in place. Cybercrime continues to cause serious financial impact to economies to the tune of close to $600 billion. “According to McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, when it comes to cybercrime, Europe's economy is truly suffering, as 84% of the region's GDP is affected”. We often think of cyberattacks to be one of scams similar to a get rich quick or pyramid scheme but the fact is, that our banks, governments and most likely employers face this constant battle protecting data and money.

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Privacy Impacts

70% of Americans surveyed by ESET are worried about the misuse of personal data supplied to websites when banking or shopping online, and an overwhelming majority of Americans now see cybercrime as a threat to their country, one that is getting worse. These are some of the key findings of the ESET Cybersecurity Barometer, a survey that polled 3,500 adults in North America (2,500 in the US and 1,000 in Canada). Without the public's trust in tech, it makes everything harder to evolve in the future of a tech world. If we cannot trust our bank, our online spending, or our form of communication, it will have a huge impact on both you personally and society.

Piracy Impacts

The cybercrime of piracy has had major effects on how the world views ownership. Photos, videos, anything done on computers can be taken and used without you knowing. The view of ownership has changed it is becoming more and more difficult to claim rights to work without getting it official copyrighted. Claims of damages are hard to estimate and even harder to verify, with estimates ranging widely. This can leave people very afraid if they have been a victim to a cyberattack where their data is gone.

Security Cost

Cyber criminals also focus their attacks on businesses, both large and small. Hackers may attempt to take over company servers to steal information or use the machines for their own purposes, requiring companies to hire staff and update software to keep intruders out. According to EWeek, a survey of large companies found an average expenditure of $8.9 million per year on cyber security, with 100 percent of firms surveyed reporting at least one malware incident in the preceding 12 months and 71% reporting the hijacking of company computers by outsiders. Cybercrime has created a major threat to those who use the Internet, with millions of users’ information stolen within the past few years. It has also made a major dent in many nations’ economies. IBM president and CEO Ginni Rometty described cybercrime as “the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world”.

Solutions

Cyber security is ever changing, something that works today is outdated tomorrow. A never-ending battle for protection over money, data and privacy. We might not be able to stop every attack but we can set up protection. Mostly it's cheap, fast and can save hours of trouble if something was to happen.

As one of the oldest methods for combating cyber security issues, anti-virus software should be your first step in battling cyberattacks. Many computer users, simply don’t install it or neglect to update the software they do have. Start by installing reputable, effective anti-virus software on each laptop and desktop computer. When the antivirus program prompts you to download an update, don’t just ignore it. Viruses, spyware, and malware evolve very quickly, so antivirus software requires constant updates to stay ahead. Download each update immediately to ensure that you’re protected from the latest cyber security threats. This is to give you the best chance and less amount of worry for the future.

You set up a firewall in your home or business in order to protect your network and computers from outside cyber attackers. These devices can come in any format (hardware or software), and both can be quite effective in filtering out unnecessary traffic. Firewalls in hardware form can be placed between your computer and your modem in order to prevent malicious code or viruses from getting through. Firewalls in software format can be installed on nearly any operating system and can also effectively block cyber security risks from attacking your computer or network.

With single-factor authentication, you simply enter a username and password in order to access an account or information online. Two-factor authentication, however, effectively doubles the security you have in place when you login to an online account. Instead of the basic username and password combination, this secure format requires additional information that theoretically only the user knows or has access to. The second level of authentication should require a user to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in addition to a password. Alternatively, it may demand an object in your possession, such as a phone or a credit card. Otherwise, it may require biometric data, such as a fingerprint. Answering an additional question or producing an extra piece of information may seem like an inconvenience, but the added peace of mind it offers is well worth the effort. This should definitely be used for highly sensitive information such as banking VPN. If you use the public Internet at coffee shops or at hotels/airports, it is best to use a VPN to protect yourself. A VPN helps secure your Internet connection so that data traveling in/out of your computer is encrypted. Public Wi-Fi could be an easy place for a cyber attacker to reach a lot of people, but also if someone has a virus, they may unknowingly spread it on.

No one wants to be caught without access to email or bank accounts when cyber attackers strike. To make sure you’re not stuck between a rock and a hard place, make a disaster plan in advance. First, compose a list of all of your credit card numbers and bank account numbers, along with phone numbers to call in case of an emergency. If you find out that your credit card number has been stolen online, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend unnecessary time tracking down your account numbers and your bank’s phone number. Create a system for routinely monitoring your credit card transactions. Start a practice of combing through your transactions online once or twice a week, and make sure that every transaction that is published matches the one you made yourself. If you spot suspicious activity, call your financial institution as soon as possible.

At many organizations and companies, entry-level employees take on massive amounts of security-related responsibility. While the majority of these employees likely do not intend to perform malicious actions, the reality is that many may do so without meaning to. When employees who are charged with data security don’t receive necessary training to show them how to handle information securely, unpleasant results can occur. This can leave the firm and the employee in a messy and embarrassing situation. Instead of providing entry-level employees with only little training, make a point of establishing more elaborate guidelines. Consider only allowing mid-level employees access to sensitive information. Require employees who deal with sensitive data to complete a series of training sessions that prove they know how to handle information discreetly. Perform regular checks to ensure that data is secure, and employees distribute it correctly. Given the increasing number of attacks on sensitive data, it’s more than likely that everyone will become the victim of hackers at some time.

Conclusion

To best protect yourself, implement all of the above cyber security measures. Take on the individual methods yourself, and encourage the companies with which you do business to train their employees to the best of their ability. Only by combining methods can you prevent cyber security breaches from taking over your online life.

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The Importance of Cyber Security in Personal Life. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-importance-of-cyber-security-in-personal-life/
“The Importance of Cyber Security in Personal Life.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-importance-of-cyber-security-in-personal-life/
The Importance of Cyber Security in Personal Life. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-importance-of-cyber-security-in-personal-life/> [Accessed 13 Apr. 2024].
The Importance of Cyber Security in Personal Life [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2024 Apr 13]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-importance-of-cyber-security-in-personal-life/
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