According to recent reports, cyberattacks are occurring every 39 seconds in the US. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? What’s more, one attack can harm millions of people. For example, when Atlanta was attacked using ransomware called SamSam, the city was offline for five days, which halted several significant citywide operations. As a result, the amount of recovery cost reached $17 million.
Cyberattacks can also happen on a global scale with hackers breaching big government organizations. The National Cyber Security Center warns everyone that Russia is exploiting network infrastructure devices to lay the groundwork for future attacks on infrastructure like power stations and energy grids.
The increasing number of cyberattacks
The shocking statistics given above probably make you wonder about the reason for the increased number of cyberattacks. In fact, there are a few causes of that.
As the Brookings Institute states, the Advent of 5G networks creates a greatly expanded cyberattack vulnerability. Also, because of up-to-minute technologies, hackers can utilize AI and machine learning to trigger automated cyberattacks that don’t need any human intervention. This means that cyberattacks can be done on a mass volume. Besides, people started using cloud computing services more frequently, which also imposes additional risks for cybersecurity.
What is cybersecurity and why is it important?
Cybersecurity involves a set of processes aimed at protecting and recovering computer systems, devices, networks, and programs from cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity encompasses everything that concerns the safety of our sensitive data, personally identifiable information, intellectual property, and governmental information systems so that they are not stolen or damaged by criminals.
Because of global connectivity and usage of cloud services, it’s extremely important now to store personal information and sensitive data securely. Unfortunately, all people and organizations are at risk to suffer from a cyber-attack or data breach. But if you want to reduce this risk, read some recommendations below!
Cybersecurity tips for students
- Update your software
Make sure that your operating system, browser software and apps are updated, so they can fix bugs and address security issues. Note that even new machines can put you at risk because of out-of-date software. Hence, always use automatic updates to ensure that you are using the most secure version available. But don’t forget to review the privacy settings after each update because they may be changed.
- Ensure malware protection
Check if you have an antivirus with anti-phishing support installed on all your devices, including desktops, laptops, and tablets. Don’t forget to set an automatic update and virus scanning at least once a week. Note that malware can be extremely sophisticated so antivirus software might not detect it. Therefore, you should also install script- and ad-blocking browser plugins.
- Think before sharing your research papers
Being a student is a real challenge that requires much effort. Therefore, people studying at college usually try to help each other by sharing their assignments via email or on special websites. Maybe you do the same or just pay someone to do your research paper within a few days. No matter how you share study materials, be careful about providing your personal information with them. Try not to reveal such details as a school or team name, home address, and your personal phone number.
- Use secure configurations
When you configure your devices and apps, always keep security in mind. Remember that many of them have default “out-of-the-box” configurations geared more toward ease-of-use than protecting your information. Therefore, as you install something on your device, enable security settings, especially those that control data sharing.
- Use networks wisely
To protect your data, don’t provide your personal and financial information over unsecured public WiFi networks. Be careful in places with free WiFi, such as coffee shops, libraries, and bookstores as your data can be easily viewed by others. Instead, give preference to your smartphone’s cellular signal to surf the Internet.
- Be aware of phishing
Phishing is really dangerous, so always stay on guard for it. This means that you shouldn’t open any email attachments from strange sources. If you are expecting emails from your teachers or group members, you should still be cautious when downloading attachments. On the contrary, if you are not going to receive anything, it would be better not to open an email at all.
- Create strong passwords
Passwords play a vital role in ensuring your security. That’s why it’s essential to use only strong passwords. You need to make it complex and unique for each account or system. A good password consists of at least 10 characters and contains upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols.
Robert Everett is a researcher and IT expert. He specializes in cybersecurity and studies the most effective ways to prevent cybercrime. Robert believes that everyone needs to be aware of the basic rules helping to protect computers and networks, so he eagerly shares some useful cybersecurity tips with web users.