It was a mixture of an embarrassing and scary fiasco late last year (2020) when one of the “Big 6” tech giants (Google) major networks shut down for the better part of an hour. Users connected through the Google Homes, Cloud service, navigation services, Email, Streaming services, and some others were OFF grid for the better part of an hour. While official reports claimed it was an internecine problem, external reports claimed otherwise.
However, the truth remains that we have come to that stage in our society’s development, where we must no longer be careless with simple data like SIN, Driver’s license, and other personal information.
The internet is undeniably one of the best things ever to happen to our world as far as globalization and development are concerned. But this has not prevented it from becoming one of the most effective, catastrophic, and advanced tools for unscrupulous people. Even as you read this, bots are crawling about the internet looking for weaker systems to infiltrate.
There is no way to sugarcoat this; it will be highly irresponsible and lethargic for any individual, firm or organization to be oblivious to their security on the internet space. With the massive rise in remote working (a result of the global pandemic), more internet-related issues have continued to come up, and it doesn’t seem to be retrogressing anytime soon.
A lot of people neglect taking steps to protect themselves because they think, “why would anyone want to hack me?” Well, for starters, if you have any money to your name, there are plenty of cybercriminals that would very happy to relieve you of that money. But beyond that, they could also steal your identity to open new bank accounts, run up charges on your credit card, get a passport in your name, use your health insurance, and a variety of other things that are undesirable to say the least.
And even if hackers didn’t manage to get hold of your most sensitive information, for example, if they just managed to get into your social media accounts, they can still exploit your reputation and take advantage of the people who know you.
So the bottom line is, you don’t have to be a celebrity, you don’t have to be rich. If you use the internet frequently, you are already a target. That’s why a basic understanding of cyber security is essential for anyone living and working in the modern world.
The FBI Criminal Center (IC3) reports that there is a growing increase in cybercrime complaints per day. It now stands at over 900 per day, and I say it could be quadruple that amount because many don’t even know they are being hacked. Also, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that consumers lost a whopping $134 million in the first six months of 2020, a mammoth increase from the $117 million in the whole of 2019.
You may continue to look at these as “statistics” until you or someone close to you is affected (which is not always pretty). This and others listed here are other reasons why a basic knowledge of internet security is important.
1. Helps you take more pro-active steps
If you are on a visit to a country and the official “country guide” says extreme temperatures all-time in a region. Surely, you will want to stock on your deep, thick wool and fur cloaks. Or the guide says lots of pick-pockets in that region; you will always keep your eyes on your valuables. It is the same with having a basic knowledge of cybersecurity.
It will make it easier for you to detect, suspect and manage any form of internet attacks on your resources, data, or portfolio.
2. Keeps your network security “healthy”
Just like how we hear of “spam”, internet bots are worse, they can be sent to your network systems to overwhelm and crash the system’s security. Many big tech companies create specific lines of codes to trace and rebuff bots on their networks. Also, internet bots can make the entire system lag and inconvenient for users.
Without a basic knowledge of internet security, it will be hard to understand the impacts of bots.
3. Save yourself the banal “Hey, you have got the wrong person”
Remember the Bitcoin scandal on Twitter? Where accounts impersonating top billionaires swindled people of their crypto coins?
Personal data theft has become the fastest thriving evils on the internet. It has become a lot easier to steal a person’s data as it was 100 years ago. Asides from creating faux accounts, many even go as far as hacking the individual’s social media accounts.
Losing your data is even more painful because it can badly sever trust, business/Family ties, complicate existing issues, and worse still, the wrong person ends up at the receiving end.
4. Helps you guard your resources
There is an estimated £1 million scam in bank transfers each day. And this is mostly a matter of pure naivety and ignorance on the part of the victim.
No “prince” from anywhere in the world needs your money for anything of sorts, and not a “marine sergeant”. Funny and scary is the fact that people still fall for these scam techniques. A basic understanding of how internet security works will help you understand the different tricks these people play to alter the location, IDs, voice, images, videos, and other elements.
5. Lots of business are now done remotely
Now more than ever, we need to be more vigilant of our actions on the internet. The debilitating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many jobs now done remotely and ironically using the internet.
Data and information transfers, especially sensitive ones, must be encrypted and protected by all means. Transfer of other resources, money, and other aids in the business must be protected, and completed under a secure network. Simple internet protocols should be taught to staff and other employees in the business.
6. Cybercrime is a menace for everyone
Most people erroneously conclude that internet fraudsters and hackers target big companies. The fact is that their crude and brutal means for their nefarious acts are more dangerous to smaller, small-budget networks.
Individuals, Organizations, and the government all suffer from internet breaches and attempts on their networks. It makes it expedient for everyone to get a basic knowledge of internet security.
7. Know that every info on the internet is useful to hackers
Your failed login passwords, personal addresses on your account, images, social media stories, and other things, that you consider mundane can be used to hurt or attack you even physically. It is why most sites block their user’s data, save for the name.
There have been lots of cases where people were traced, hunted, or harmed through their online data.
In this time of massive globalization, ignorance will only drag you farther. What you refuse to learn today might hunt your investments tomorrow.
One funny thing about cybercrime is that it is that the effects are always exponential compared to the prevention of such acts. It is the swiftest means to con a person or organization, and it is usually untraceable.
You do not need to be a Manhattan Beach resident or a Silicon Valley CEO to protect yourself on the internet. It is relevant for everyone.