Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Protecting Yourself Against Cybercriminals

Cybersecurity

This month marks the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) 17th annual cybersecurity awareness month, with each year proving more and more necessary to properly protect yourself and your organization from cyber threats.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, cybercrime totaled more than $3.5 billion in losses in 2019. Alarming statistics like this might leave you thinking, how did we get here?

With the rapid expansion of technology has come increased opportunity for cybercriminals to target and access a broad range of victims and connected devices that were not as easily accessible in the past. Smartphones, laptops, and other internet connected devices have become “must haves” in businesses and homes across the globe. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, there are 4.8 billion people in the world today who use the internet, representing an enormous target for cybercriminals to exploit. In addition to taking vast amounts of money, these criminals have compromised an important sense of safety for individuals and businesses alike.

Some recommended protections by the US Federal Government include, but are not limited to:

  • Be aware of the methods used to commit internet fraud and other online scams. Methods include: malware/scareware, phishing/spoofing, ransomware, and e-mail account compromise.
  • Keep your computer software updated. Download the latest versions of your operating system, web browsers, and applications.
  • Don’t share your passwords or sensitive information.
  • Don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Try to make your passwords unpredictable and avoid using names, dates, or common words.
  • Don’t provide personal information over unencrypted websites. Only trust encrypted sites that begin with “https”. They convert your information into a code that prevents exposure to potential scammers.

For more information on Cybersecurity Awareness Month and best used cyber practices, visit USA.gov, CISA.gov, FBI.gov, or BBB.org.