Recent statistics show that cyber attacks occur approximately 1.5 million times per year, making cybercrime one of the biggest criminal issues of our time. Contrary to popular belief individual families are as susceptible, if not more so than most businesses. Staying safe is imperative for personal and financial security. One of the top ways of maintaining safety from cybercrime is being vigilant and reducing risks associated with malware. Using proper protective software and spotting trouble before it occurs can save time money and headaches in the long run.
What is Malware?
Malware is a term used to cover a variety of malicious computer programs including viruses worms, trojans, adware, and spyware. Malware is the number one component of cybercrime. It can be used to remotely access personal information for nefarious reasons, destroy software, and commit financial crimes.
Although many people believe malware is exclusive of pornography sites it can affect users who surf even seemingly reputable sites. A study conducted by Blue Coat found that malvertising now surpasses pornography as the leading cause of accidental malware downloads. Simply shopping on the web or visiting unknown sites can lead to accidental infection. Mobile apps shopping sites and even free downloads from informational sites can be secret harbingers of viruses, worms, and other malware.
Thankfully, there are several practices that families may institute to reduce their risk of being targeted by malware software. Putting these good practices into use and discussing issues with all Internet users within the home is invaluable in the fight against Internet crime.
For example, it is critical when using the Internet to only access trustworthy sites especially if downloading or making purchases. Internet security can be increased to identify non-trustworthy sites and block users from accessing them. This is especially valuable for families with your children who utilize the Internet but may not always be conscientious about security.
Additionally, all family members should be cautious regarding who is allowed to use the family Internet connection for services. Make sure that all wireless connections are protected with a secure password to prevent unauthorized users and be vigilant when permitting access for guests. As with all passwords, it is important to change the network security code routinely every few months and immediately anytime a threat is detected.
Remember that these issues are not only PC-related. Security and safety must also be practiced on cellular phones and other mobile devices. Especially if sensitive information is stored on said devices. Utilize caution when downloading apps as they can offer malicious users a way to access information stored on a mobile device. In fact, in 2012 Apple’s IOS was shown to harbor 387 documented security holes while Android had 13. One way to reduce risk on mobile devices to routinely download software updates and patches as they become available.
One factor is knowing your system. Routinely check what systems are running so that it is more obvious when unknown systems are performing tasks in the background. Often sluggish poor operation indicates a problem with malware. Thus, these symptoms should be taken seriously.
Keep up with financial statements and accounts. Any unsolicited charges need to immediately be reported to your financial institution. Following these issues it is important to change passwords and do a thorough scan to ensure the breach did not occur through you personal network.
Cyber attacks are costly and frustrating. The results can be anything from a minor annoyance to major threats to finances and identity. Mobile security is a serious matter and it is crucial to treat it as such. Educating users maintaining vigilance and utilizing proper protective software is critical. When these measure are in place maintaining a safe mobile environment across one’s network is far easier.
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