Bots, Bugs, and Bad Guys: How To Protect Yourself Online
You’re about to head off shopping. Before you go, you gather up all your personal information and visibly pin it to your clothing. Yes, that’s far fetched. But that’s essentially what you’re doing if you shop, browse, engage in social media, or do personal business online.
“Every wireless network you join, each link that you click, every download you save holds the possibility that someone out there is targeting you.”
Those are the ominous words of online security expert Dr. Eric Cole. And there’s not a bit of exaggeration in them. More than ever, you must learn how to protect yourself online.
Here are some of the very real online security statistics (via Cybint Solutions)
- There is a hackers attack every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans each year.
- 95 percent of breached records came from three industries in 2016: Government, retail, and technology.
- 43 percent of cyber attacks target small business. 64% of companies have experienced web-based attacks. 62% experienced phishing & social engineering attacks. 59% of companies experienced malicious code and botnets and 51% experienced denial of service attacks.
- The average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million by 2020, as more business infrastructure gets connected.
- Since 2013 there are 3,809,448 records stolen from breaches every day , 158,727 per hour, 2,645 per minute and 44 every second of every day.
Now, remember that it’s not just you, personally, who is exposed to these dangers. Your spouse, and your kids, are also at risk. And if they are compromised on your computer or even the same network, chances are that you are, too.
The Basics: How To Protect Yourself Online
In our age of internet connectedness, learning to protect yourself while on the web is a part of life. But it’s all changing so quickly it’s difficult to keep up. Bots, phishing scams, worms, trojans, fraud schemes, identity theft, and more. It’s time to start taking internet security education seriously, and there’s a new publication out to help you. Dr. Cole’s “Online Danger: How To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From the Evil Side of the Internet” delivers all the information you need in a comprehensive yet easy to understand set of how-to instructions. Here’s just a few of the tips he shares:
- You should use a password vault system, or a password protocol that’s very difficult to guess, and never use passwords that are known to be easily broken.
- If possible, you should select one credit card for online use. Set up alerts so you know whenever it’s used or when specified unusual charges are attempted.
- Always limit the amount of personal information you give anywhere online. Give as little as possible, and get in the habit of questioning why it’s being requested.
- Turn off your devices when not in use. Don’t leave open browsers unattended, even for a few minutes.
- Never open attachments to email unless you are sure of the authenticity of the sender. Remember, even those links to touching or funny stories can be set-ups to compromise your personal information.
- Regularly backup important files to a secure device or file system. And make sure the backup is password protected.
- Do not run or even download programs or apps from unknown sources.
Use Common Sense
Moreover, get in the habit of quickly and automatically asking yourself questions when you’re online. Does this make sense coming from this person? Is there anything I’ve done to invite this email? It’s always better to spend a minute verifying the source than to spend months recovering from a breach.
Now’s a perfect time to take action to protect yourself and your family. I’d suggest you start with Dr. Cole’s book. It’s a small investment for a huge helping of peace of mind.