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 occur any hour of the day or night on anyone's Internet system by some unknown person either within a company, by someone halfway across the world, or even by a vindictive family member.
Recently, several Hollywood celebrities have had their cellphones hacked. Their personal information, photos, text messages and emails were compromised. In the past year, several banks, insurance companies and government offices as high as the Pentagon have been hacked. Important information was stolen.
According to John Jorgensen, CEO of the Sylint Group, hackers have made Florida, where several hundred-thousand elderly have retired, the second highest state of computer crime. Theft of trade secrets has increased by 100% annually, and 80% of this cybercrime is perpetrated from within the company. Trojans and computer worms infect systems and steal personal and company information.
If you're reading this, your unprotected equipment is at risk; 70% of all laptops stolen are stolen for their information value, not their physical value, and 68% of wireless networks are unprotected. Identity theft accounts for less than 20% of all cybercrime. Think you can find the perpetrator and sue? Think again. Only about 7% of cybercrime is 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 aim is to bring awareness of the increasing dangers of cyber crimes, not only to our national government organizations, banks and other major American corporations, but to each individual user of the Internet.
The theme this year is "Our Shared Responsibility" and is meant to reflect how interconnected we are to everyone in our highly technical, modern world. Although the government's goal is to encourage hundreds of forums on the issues in schools, colleges, universities and businesses throughout the country, each of us can do our part, either within our family unit, or even in a neighborhood forum via a potluck dinner or barbeque.
Don't think you're not at risk! If you use a home PC, a notebook, an iPad or iPhone or any other piece of equipment that connects you to cyberspace, your files can be hacked. If you use the free wireless connections at hotels, Starbucks or any other gathering place, you're at serious risk. Your system can be easily hacked, your identity stolen, and your financial information gathered and sold to criminals worldwide. You can become the victim of cyber bullying. Devises used by government and military officials and private detectives are also used by cyber criminals. Make it your goal right now, today, to learn all you can about protecting yourself and your family members. Discuss the problems with your children of all ages. Learn about password protection, encryption, proper erasure of files, anti-virus and anti-spy software, staying safe on social networks, and a host of other vitally important security measures. Go to the following government website at this URL and spend an hour arming yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is empowerment. Take charge of your personal and business use of cyberspace.
Remember... this is "Our Shared Responsibility."
Here are a few simple things you can do to practice cybersecurity during National Cyber Security Awareness Month and throughout the year:
- Download tip sheets on how to stay safe in a variety of online settings: on social networking sites, on gaming sites, on your mobile device, and distribute them within your community.
- Add a signature block to your e-mail: "October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Stay Safe Online! Visit www.staysafeonline.org for the latest cybersecurity tips."