The summer vacation season is underway and for many of us that means lounging on sunny beaches, reading a book under a shade tree or hitting the road for a new adventure. It can also mean identity theft and other crimes if we aren’t careful about our online activities and protecting our information. Cyber crime does not take a summer vacation; we need to remain vigilant.
Cyber Security Newsletters
You have probably heard terms such as “bots”, “zombies”, and “botnets” in recent news stories about data breaches and other cyber security risks. But what exactly are they, how do they work, and what damage can they cause?
The volume of cyber threats to mobile computing devices continues to increase as new applications and devices proliferate. McAfee reports that there were more than two million new mobile malware samples in 2013. Symantec reports that nearly 40% of mobile device users have experienced mobile cyber crime in the past 12 months. Some experts estimate that nearly 10% of applications sold on particular platforms are malicious.
Maybe you opened an e-mail attachment you shouldn't have and now your computer has slowed to a crawl and other strange things are happening. Or perhaps you’re running an out-of-date, or unpatched, operating system software (such as Windows XP) and have started to see “antivirus warnings.” Perhaps your bank called, informing you that there has been some unusual activity on your account. Your friends and family may start complaining about spam messages they are purportedly receiving from you. These are all signs that your computer may have been hacked.
Tax season is in full swing and criminals are seizing the opportunity for scams. Because of the recent major data breaches we’ve seen in the past few months, which exposed sensitive information on a large scale, we should be even more vigilant about taking steps to minimize our risk of ID theft and other online-related crime. Don't become the next victim.
What are backups? Backups of computers, laptops and other devices are important defense layers in recovering from intentional or unintentional loss or corruption of data. For example, critical information can be lost when your hard drive becomes corrupted; natural disasters can destroy your equipment and device; or malware could infect your computer or device and corrupt your data. With a solid backup and recovery plan, you have a greater chance of recovering from any of these scenarios; without one, those chances are significantly diminished.
As we look ahead toward the cyber threats facing us this year, some key challenges will result from the advancements in technology that are becoming part of our daily lives. Ranging from the Internet of Things to online currencies, devices and systems have never been more interconnected. Before we adopt these new technologies, we need to ensure we understand the security implications, and have appropriate layers of defense in place.
In this digital age, we rely on our computers and devices for so many aspects of our lives that the need to be proactive and vigilant to protect against cyber threats has never been greater. However, in order to be as secure as possible, we need to use good cyber hygiene – that is, making sure we are protecting and maintaining systems and devices appropriately and using cyber security best practices.
Online holiday shopping continues to grow in popularity. According to American Express, for the first time, more people are expected to shop online on Cyber Monday than visit brick and mortar stores on Black Friday. Shoppers are expected to spend nearly $62 billion online throughout the holiday season this year, up more than 15% from 2012.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In recognition of the important role each of us plays in securing cyberspace, the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the ICSD Cyber Security Team (CST) invites you to take the pledge to commit to safe cyber behavior.