Who hasn’t heard of “National Pest Management Month,” “National Ice Cream Month,” “National Pizza Month,” “National Care about Your Indoor Air Month” or, if you’re not fond of supporting indoor air, “National Great Outdoors Month”? Frankly, we hadn’t.
While many observances are of doubtful value to most Americans (the now defunct “National Catfish Day” for example), “National Cyber Security Awareness Month” is important not only to Americans, but everybody who uses the Internet – which means the entire developed world.
Because of the growing risk of cyberattacks and security breaches, the United States Department of Homeland Security designated October “National Cyber Security Awareness Month.”
According to Julie Conroy McNelley, research director, Aite Group, each day, there are 111,111 unique new strands of malware and 10,000 new malicious domains displayed online. So, it only makes good sense that every Internet user remains vigilant, is aware of the latest threats, and has a sense as to what he/she can do to help prevent them.
ThreatMetrix™ has identified steps users can take to improve protection and help mitigate or stop cyberattacks:
• Take stock of your online identity – know where your personal information is stored online and how this information is protected
• Create a unique password for each online account – if one account is hacked or infected, this makes it trickier for cybercriminals to attack multiple accounts
• Keep your computer up-to-date – security software providers do their best to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals so updated software helps to better protect online identities
• Educate others – as Generation Y teaches grandparents to use computers or parents teach their children, cybersecurity awareness should be a top priority
“Cybersecurity is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain and if one account – such as Facebook or Google – is attacked, this can put an individual or company’s entire online identity at risk,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix. “Just as people with the flu are isolated to stop the spread of disease, users need to keep their online identities isolated by using unique passwords and security questions for all of their accounts.”
What can you do online? Just about everything — trade millions of dollars, conduct online banking, access entertainment and more. Nothing’s more convenient for the consumer OR for the cybercriminal who can attack an account, a Website, or steal a company’s payroll at the speed of an electron.
“Fraudsters go where the money is,” said Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer, ThreatMetrix. “Just as criminals have robbed banks for years, cybercriminals increasingly target online financial services and retailers, putting consumers at risk if these enterprises do not take proper cybersecurity steps.”