Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 07 February 2017, 23:25 hrs, Post #106.
Accessed on 07 February 2017, 23:25 hrs, UTC.
Author: Mark Maunder, CEO and founder of Wordfence Security.
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Today, 07 February 2017 is “Safer Internet Day”–an appropriate time to review ways of protecting your identity and online data.
This article from Mark Maunder, the CEO and founder of Wordfence Security, is especially timely, considering the rapid increase in malicious malware attacks and data breaches over the past year.
Maunder’s well-researched article covers two main points:
The current state of cybersecurity and prioritizing what you should protect by focusing on the rapidly evolving risks we all face online.
Maunder cites a long list of alarming statistics which should prod you into being more proactive when it comes to safeguarding your personal and business data. Among the alarming numbers is that 64% of Americans (including yours truly) have already had their data compromised by hackers, cyber criminals, and state-supported cyber warfare units. These attacks are expected to continue unabated this year. Cyber criminals always seem to be a step ahead of everybody else.
Maunder says there are three main areas that you should protect:
Your personal information, including data about your family and children.
Your financial means and expenditures.
Sensitive personal data such as medical, tax, job, and education history.
Basic to protecting your personal and business data is to cover your websites and blogs with several layers of security, including strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and off-line backups of all your files. Be careful on how much you share on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn–these sites have been breached by data thieves several times. Maunder also emphasizes extreme caution when you search the internet for information. Be sure to use only secure websites beginning with “https”. Google Chrome is already flagging “naked” “http” sites as “not secure.” Don’t open unfamiliar e-mail or their attachments. This could lead to the dangerous intrusion of “ransomware” and “phishing” attacks by cyber criminals.
And speaking of ransomware, Maunder has this warning:
“One final tip. Ransomware is malware that encrypts your entire hard drive and forces you to pay a hacker to get your data back. Sadly this attack is very effective and many people pay to get their data back, including large organizations. Two thirds of companies that fall victim to ransomware actually pay the ransom.
Use backups to protect yourself against a ransomware attack. Make sure that your backups are not connected to the computer you are trying to protect once the backups have completed or the ransomware may also encrypt your backup drive.
Crashplan is a cloud backup service that can protect you against ransomware. We don’t have any commercial relationship with them but we have heard good things.”
Please implement these suggestions without delay. The only person that can “harden” your website or blog is you. You must think like a hacker to avoid malicious software that can destroy your credit history and even your life. Speaking as a former victim of identity theft, I can tell you that the recovery process is painful, lengthy, and nerve-wracking. While these suggestions won’t guarantee 100% protection, they at least will make data theft on your website or blog more difficult for opportunists who could care less about you and your family. Be sure to use a VPN (virtual private network) on your laptop, Mac, PC, tablet, and smartphone. And be careful how much personal information you share on social networks.
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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.
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Until next time,
Hawaii Intelligence Digest