Cybersecurity 101: Know the Terms


Let’s start from the beginning and find out what cybersecurity is…

Cybersecurity…is the practice of protecting computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks, unauthorized access, damage, or theft. There is increasing reliance on technology and the internet in today’s daily living, making cybersecurity more relevant than ever. The goal of cybersecurity is to protect your data from hackers and spammers.

Ok, that’s great, so let’s look at some examples of common cybersecurity threats… 

Malware…is malicious software, like viruses, worms and trojans, that can sneak into your device (i.e., computer, tablet, or smartphone) often without you realizing it. It is created to do something harmful or steal something valuable.  Once it gets in, it can cause havoc by stealing your personal information, displaying unwanted ads, or even making your device stop working properly. 

Phishing…is when someone tries to trick you into giving away your personal information (i.e.,  passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security number). You may get a phone call, text or email from a company you do business with ( like your bank or an online store you shop at). They may say there’s a problem with your account or that you need to confirm some personal details. It often includes a link that looks legitimate, taking you to a website that looks very real but is actually fake. The goal of these scammers is to get you to give them your personal information or click on a link that might install harmful software (remember the malware above?) on your device. Like a fisherman uses bait to catch fish, these scammers use these fake messages as “bait” to “phish” for your information. That’s why it’s called “phishing” — it’s all about tricking you into revealing information that should stay private.

Ransomware…is a type of bad software that locks up the files on your computer or device so you can’t access them, and then demands you pay money (or sometimes bitcoin)  to get them unlocked. The ransomware sneaks into your computer through a malicious email attachment, a bad link, or vulnerable software. Once it’s in, it makes your files so you can’t read them, and the only way to possibly get them back is to pay the ransom the attackers demand. However, even if you pay, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually unlock your files, which makes it a risky and dangerous situation.

So, now that we understand some common cybersecurity threats, let’s learn about how to protect our computer?

Antivirus Software…installing, frequently running and keeping your antivirus software updated  is your first line of defense against cyber attacks. Some of the benefits of this type of software is Protection from Viruses and Malware, Identity Theft Prevention, having a Safe Online Experience when browsing the internet, downloading files, or opening email attachments, Prevention of Phishing Attacks, performance Maintenance, Network Protection, data protection and peace of mind. BitDefender is one I recommend.  

Regular Updates…on your operating system, applications, and security software, are important. Updates provide security enhancements and patches, bug fixes, new features and performance Improvements to name of few benefits.A good practice is to setup automatic updates.

Strong Passwords…act as the first line of defense in protecting your online accounts,  personal information, and your digital identity from unauthorized access and malicious intent.

Firewalls…act as a barrier between your internal network or computer and external networks, such as the internet. They play a key role in protecting your digital assets preventing unauthorized access to your network, protecting against external attacks, preventing malware and viruses and securing your data

And some important things to consider when protecting your network….

Secure Wi-Fi Network…make sure you have a secure  Wi-Fi Networks with strong encryption (like WPA3), 

VPNs...use Virtual Private Networks for secure internet access, especially on public networks.

Regular Data Backups…to mitigate the impact of data loss incidents.

We know how to defend against cyber threats now! So, let’s get started implementing your cybersecurity…

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