Identity theft, cyber bullying and other computer crimes are at an all time high. Never have so many been at risk of becoming the next victim. A cybersecurity crime can happen at any time of the day or night on anyone’s internet system by an unknown person, whether inside a company, by someone on the other side of the world, or even by a vengeful family member. .
Recently, several Hollywood celebrities have had their cell phones hacked. Your personal information, photos, text messages and emails were compromised. In the past year, several banks, insurance companies, and government offices as high up as the Pentagon were hacked. Important information was stolen.
According to John Jorgensen, CEO of the Sylint Group, hackers have turned Florida, where several hundred thousand seniors have retired, into the state with the second highest rate of cybercrime. Trade secret theft has increased by 100% annually, and 80% of this cybercrime is perpetrated from within the company. Trojan horses and computer worms infect systems and steal personal and company information.
If you’re reading this, your unprotected computer is at risk; 70% of all stolen laptops are stolen for their information value, not their physical value, and 68% of wireless networks are unsecured. Identity theft accounts for less than 20% of all cybercrimes. Do you think you can find the perpetrator and sue him? Think again. Only about 7% of cyber crimes are prosecuted and law enforcement cannot protect you.
The entire month of October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the goal is to raise awareness of the growing dangers of cybercrime, not not only to our national government organizations, banks, and other large American corporations, but to each individual Internet user.
This year’s theme is “Our Shared Responsibility” and is intended to reflect how interconnected we are with everyone in our modern, highly technical world. While the government’s goal is to encourage hundreds of forums on the topics in schools, colleges, universities, and businesses across the country, each of us can do our part, whether it’s within our family unit or even a neighborhood forum at through a shared dinner or barbecue.
Don’t think you’re not at risk! If you use a home PC, laptop, iPad or iPhone or any other equipment that connects you to cyberspace, your files can be hacked. If you use free Wi-Fi in hotels, Starbucks, or any other gathering places, you are taking a serious risk. Your system can easily be hacked, your identity stolen, and your financial information collected and sold to criminals around the world. You can become a victim of cyberbullying. Coins used by government and military officials and private detectives are also used by cybercriminals. Make it your goal right now, today, to learn all you can about how to protect yourself and your family members. Discuss the problems with your children of all ages. Learn about password protection, encryption, proper file deletion, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, social media security, and many other vital security measures. Go to the following government website at this URL and spend an hour building your knowledge. Knowledge is empowerment. Take charge of your personal and business use of cyberspace.
Remember… this is “Our Shared Responsibility”.
Here are some simple things you can do to practice cyber safety during National Cyber Security Awareness Month and throughout the year:
- Download tip sheets on how to stay safe in a variety of online environments – on social networking sites, on gaming sites, on your mobile device – and distribute them within your community.
- Add a signature block to your email: “October is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month. Stay safe online! Visit www.staysafeonline.org for the latest cyber safety tips.”