Hackers, Terrorists & Criminals – How to Prevent Cyber Attacks

Media Division | April 21, 2016

With the drastic increase in cyber security breaches, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself and your business, both at home and in the office.

Modern technology has brought us great and exciting advancements in nearly every industry. Unfortunately, it has also brought an increased risk to our security on a national, business, and personal level. This looming risk continues to increase as hackers, terrorists, and other entities advance their techniques. In fact, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Global State of Information Security Survey, there was a 38% increase in cyber security incidences from 2014 to 2015. It is safe to say that this number will keep increasing unless action is taken to protect ourselves, our businesses, and our nation from cyber attacks.

Know the Facts About Cyber Threats

The first step in protecting ourselves from cyber threats is to understand the –often complex- nature of cyber security. When boiled down, cyber attacks happen when hackers, terrorist, and even other countries have the intent to cause harm. Many of these individuals/organizations have found that attacking on a cyber level is often easier and less risky than harming us in person. For example, a criminal is less likely to get caught stealing your identity online that trying to steal your purse or wallet right off your body. Additionally, instead of facing our armed forces, terrorists attack us online in an effort to harm our country.

Not only are these threats dangerous to our personal, business, and national security, they are also extremely costly. In fact, according to a McAfee report, Net Losses: Estimating the Global Costs of Cybercrime:

  • The United States has spent approximately $100 Billion on cyber security since 2005;
  • The Unites States plans to spend approximately $14 Billion on cyber security in 2016 alone; and
  • American businesses spend an average of $400-500 Billion every year on cyber attack remediation.

Even prevention of cyber attacks can be costly. In fact:

  • Businesses spend about $1 Billion every year to educate employees on protection from cyber attacks;
  • Many businesses are opting for cyber attack insurance, causing the market to grow from a $1 Billion industry to a $2.5 Billion industry in just two years.

While nearly 53% of businesses train their employees on cyber attack prevention, security breaches caused by company partners have increased by a whopping 22%. That being said, employees are still the largest source of cyber security risks.

At home, cyber security is just as important. As we store an increasing amount of sensitive information online, our identities become ripe for theft. Malware, spam, hacked accounts, and unsecure Wi-Fi are all sources of potential harm on our personal devices.

Despite the mounting threats, there are things we can do, in our personal lives and on a corporate and national level, to eradicate the risk of cyber attacks.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Business from Cyber Attacks

For your personal devises, there are several steps you can take to help ensure your cyber security. These include:

  • Installing anti-virus software that will alert you to potential attacks;
  • Establish multi-factor authentication for all accounts;
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or emails;
  • Never use an external drive or CD with unknown contents;
  • Keep your firewall on;
  • Ensure that your software is up to date;
  • Keep your personal information (such as Social Security Number) off of online accounts;
  • Connect to only secure Wi-Fi or use a VPN [virtual private network];
  • Password protect your own Wi-Fi; and
  • Set your devices to delete all data if an incorrect password is entered numerous times.

As a business, you can improve security by:

  • Implementing cloud-based cyber security;
  • Training employees and partners on cyber security risks;
  • Investing in cyber security insurance;
  • Actively monitoring accounts and security threats;
  • Employing or designating a specialized cyber security team or department; and
  • Following a risk-based cyber security framework.

Just as the federal government is enacting the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), we too should take steps to decrease our risk of cyber attack, both at the office and the home front. For more information on cyber security and the risks and challenges we face, please feel free to contact us today.

MEDIA DIVISION
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