YOU Are the Target

You may not realize it now, but you are a constant target for cyber criminals. With today’s technology, cyber criminals can easily target anyone from almost anywhere in the world, with little or no cost, and at very little risk (1). Additionally, cyber criminals have become extremely resourceful and highly organized, enabling them to be more effective than ever.

However, YOU have the power to protect yourself. Follow these easy steps to take back control:

  • Trust yourself: If you get an email or a call about something that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before you click on a link, you should hover over it to make sure it is truly navigating you to the location it appears to be directing you to. Another rule of thumb is to delete anything that seems suspicious to you. If the email is gone, you cannot accidentally access the malicious link or file that the hackers want to use to gain access to your computer. To learn more about phishing attacks visit: https://www.umsystem.edu/makeitsafe/phishing.
  • Use a unique password for accounts: You should have a unique password for every account you access, including email, online web accounts, and social media accounts. This is important because if one of your accounts is compromised then all accounts with the same password are at risk of getting hacked. While it may seem hard to remember all of your unique passwords, it is actually quite simple. Download a trusted Password Manager for your computer or your phone and it will encrypt your passwords and save them all securely. For more information on creating a safe password visit: https://www.umsystem.edu/makeitsafe/passwords.
  • Update your software/applications and operating system regularly: Update your anti-virus software, applications, web browsers, and operating system whenever there is a security patch or an update available. Companies are constantly updating their products to prevent vulnerabilities. Turning on automatic updates allows your devices to update without you needing to authorize. Updates are fast, easy, and effective ways to ward off cyber criminals.
  • Finally, Be Prepared: Even with all the precautions you may put in place, there is always the chance that your information will be compromised. We recommend that you always keep updated backups of all of your information somewhere where it can be recovered if need be. There is always a chance that a hacker may steal all of your photos, files and other personal information and hold them for ransom. You can prevent this threat by making sure that you have all pf your important information backed up somewhere that isn’t your computer, such as the Cloud or offline storage.

Resource:

SANS.  (2014). Yes, you actually are a target. Retrieved from, https://securingthehuman.sans.org/newsletters/ouch/issues/OUCH-201404_en.pdf

Last updated: September 15, 2017