Cybercrime has cost victims $126 billion worldwide and it has indeed established itself as a criminal enterprise. Every day, we see headlines on security and data breaches, invasion of privacy, and hacking. Cybercriminals continue to innovate new ways to attack and both private and public sectors remain vulnerable.
How do you protect yourself from cybercrimes?
- Make it very difficult for attackers to access your accounts by using strong and unique passwords. Make sure to use lower and upper case letters, symbols, and numbers. Change your passwords every three months, and do not use just one password for all your accounts.
- When installing new network-connected devices at home, do not forget to change the default password. Disable or protect remote access when not necessary.
- Be cautious and think twice before clicking links and opening messages and attachments. Be suspicious of the sender and the subject line. Most phishing emails come from compromised email accounts of friends. Surveys show that 4 in 10 millennials cannot distinguish between a phishing email from a legitimate one.
- Limit your online activities when using public wi-fi networks. When you access your personal information using an unsecured public wi-fi, you risk exposing them. Avoid accessing your social media accounts, paying bills and purchasing anything using your credit card while on a public wi-fi network.
- Be diligent in managing the settings of your social media sites. Make sure that you are not exposing personal and private information. The less you share, the better.
- Stay updated on news about security breaches. If your bank or a site you have an account on falls victim to cybercriminals, change your password immediately.
- If you have become a victim of a cyber attack, alert your local police. In some cases, the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission need to be looped in, too. By reporting the crime, however minor it may seem, you are helping prevent criminals from proliferating.