October is not just about pumpkin spice lattes and autumn leaves; it's also the time to focus on something equally important—your cybersecurity. In recognition of Cyber Security Awareness Month, let's delve into the significance of this annual event and explore some eye-opening statistics and crucial tips to help safeguard your digital life.
3 Alarming Cybersecurity Statistics:
Ransomware Surge: Ransomware attacks have skyrocketed in recent years. In 2021, there was a 485% increase in ransomware attacks compared to 2019. Cybercriminals are not just demanding hefty ransoms; they're also wreaking havoc on businesses and individuals alike.1 The global indicator 'Estimated Cost of Cybercrime' in the cybersecurity market was forecast to continuously increase between 2023 and 2028 by in total 5.7 trillion U.S. dollars (+69.94 percent).2
Phishing Prowess: Phishing remains a prevalent threat, with around 32% of data breaches involving phishing.3 It's not just your inbox anymore; attackers use various channels to trick you into divulging sensitive information.
Human Error: 74% of all breaches include the human element, with people being involved either via error, privilege misuse, use of stolen credentials or social engineering.3 49% of breaches involved stolen credentials.3 Weak or stolen passwords are a leading cause of data breaches. It's high time to fortify your digital keys.
6 Crucial Ways to Protect Yourself from Cybersecurity Threats:
Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Start by creating complex, unique passwords for your online accounts. Even better, enable MFA wherever possible. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to provide a second verification method, such as a text message or biometric data, in addition to your password.
Stay Informed: Knowledge is your best defense. Stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends. Follow reputable sources and educate yourself on common scams and phishing tactics.
Regular Updates and Patches: Cybercriminals often target known vulnerabilities in software and devices. Keep your operating system, apps, and antivirus software up to date to ensure you have the latest security patches.
Be Cautious of Phishing: Exercise caution when clicking on links or downloading attachments, even if the sender appears legitimate. Verify the source, check for misspelled domains, and look for red flags in emails or messages.
Back Up Your Data: Regularly back up your important data to an external source or a secure cloud service. This way, if you fall victim to ransomware or data theft, you won't lose critical information.
- Never divulge sensitive information via email without encryption: As your financial team, we often need to send or receive confidential data by email. Remember to ALWAYS request a secure link from us before sending any confidential Personally Identifiable Information (PII) by email. This includes social security numbers, addresses, birthdays, statements, and certificates of any kind.
Cyber Security Awareness Month serves as an important reminder that our digital world requires protection, just like our physical spaces. By staying vigilant and adopting these practices, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to cyber threats and contribute to a safer online environment for all.
Remember, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and every individual plays a part in building a more secure digital future. Stay safe and secure online this October and beyond!
1. Bitdefender’s 2020 Consumer Threat Landscape Report
2. Statista's Estimated cost of cybercrime worldwide 2017-2028
3. Verizon's 2023 DBIR Report