Why Cybersecurity Awareness Is Important and How It Affects Us
Cybercrime is not a new concept. It has been around almost ever since the internet itself. Yet, these activities have only recently begun to emerge with a force that has never been seen before. From organizations to households, no one is safe from the menace of cybercrime.
The extent of cybercrime
The amount of losses being caused annually due to cybercrime is staggering. In 2015, the number stood at almost $3 trillion and in just six years, it is expected to double. $6 trillion dollars is an enormous amount considering that some countries in the world have a total GDP lower than this. According to experts, a cyberattack is carried out somewhere in the world every 40 seconds.
What’s more alarming is the fact that cybercriminals are evolving faster than us. They come up with new and more innovative ways to hack into the systems that we have not known about. The year 2018 witnessed a plethora of ransomware attacks against some of the most successful companies in the world and now that companies can be careful about them, hackers have moved on to other things.
How cybercrime is an individual responsibility
Prevention from cybercrime is not only the responsibility of governments and large organizations, it falls upon every individual. Education and awareness are essential elements that all of us should lay emphasis on. It is estimated that more than 80% of all cyberattacks that occur in an organization are a result of employee negligence. It is not necessary that we only learn about the threat if the company pays for a training session. It is an individual responsibility to know what is going on in our surroundings especially when it comes to cybercrime.
Awareness leads to prevention
Picture this for a moment; 80% of all cyberattacks were caused in 2018 because employees were unaware of the threat! Had they been, this percentage would have been significantly lower. This is just a small example but it clearly shows that a little awareness can go a long way. Cybercrime is so rampant these days that one in three Americans suffer at least one each year.
Awareness about the issue can make an enormous difference. The most common method that hackers use to gain access to computers is through email attachments. The mail contains attachments of recognizable formats like MS Word or Excel. However, once an employee downloads and opens the file, the system is completely compromised. Again, a little awareness is prevention.
Some common cyberattacks
There are various types of cyberattacks that we should know about and be familiar with to ensure that the computer you work on, remains safe from all kinds of threats:
Phishing: Hackers can lay traps but creating false surveys, quizzes or even complete web pages where a user can get fooled. It is called phishing because by leaving a bait, the hacker is trying lure the individual in and then steal their information,
Man-in-the-middle: This type of attack is usually done using public Wi-Fi. The hacker intercepts the data traffic between a website and the user. Then they place themselves in the middle acting like the website an individual was trying to access,
Ransomware: Data or information is held hostage and there are ransom demands usually in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Either way, the information is compromised and can be used by the attacker in any way they deem fit. Ransomware is most commonly spread through email attachments.
There are many other attacks and cybercriminals keep coming up with newer ones quite frequently. If we are not aware of the situation, we become sitting ducks.
Awareness about cybersecurity is crucial and is the responsibility of every person. It is applicable both to personal lives as well as professional. Knowing that these attacks happen and some of the ways in which they can be minimized are something which will effect all of us in one way or another. We should begin by educating ourselves and then the people around us.