We can talk about the cutting edge cyber security defences and the most secure encryptions known, but there is an important part of defending against hacks. And that is all of us. Everyday, hundreds of people around the globe are hacked and scammed, such as this case from India, where people were tricked into believing that their devices were overrun with viruses and malware. The people hit by this lost thousands of dollars, or sometimes even worse.
So how does a scam like this trick so many people?
The answer is fairly simple. The idea of what hackers and hacking can actually do is completely askew from what they are actually capable of. Because of this, many people are completely unaware of the danger that can come from clicking yes on open attachments, pop ups and poorly worded dialogue boxes.
This is why so many people are at the mercy of hackers too often, how incidents such as with three hospitals in Ontario becoming crippled with malware happen. There is one way to stop this from happening and that is for us all to know how it works.
If you don’t think cybercrime is your problem, it may quickly become one
In a recent study conducted by McAfee, of those asked, 58% think that keeping their own devices secure and updates was someone else’s problem. Whilst this may not be surprising, it is still extremely worrying. The article was given the headline “CES 2019: 58% of consumers don’t secure their personal drives” hiding what was really asked and its point. Let’s make something clear: securing does not mean manually encrypting files or creating extremely complex passcodes. What it actually means is changing default passwords and making sure devices are kept updated. It should be no surprise that we have so many people getting hacked when the majority don’t believe or think that their security is up to them.
In the first week of Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re teaching cyber safety 101: the basics you need to know to keep your devices and data secure.
— Get Cyber Safe (@GetCyberSafe) October 2, 2019
Keeping updated helps everyone
When it comes to keeping your devices updated, it is not just you it benefits. Online safety for us all is much higher when everyone has the most recent updates, be it for apps, the OS, everything. With Apple, they make sure that updates are installed automatically onto your newer Macs and iPhones. This is vitally important. Why?
The answer is bugs.
Not the creepy crawly kind, but security bugs, as well as vulnerabilities. These flaws can allow hackers to access accounts, devices and machines at will. When updates come out, they patch these, updating the software. With it patched, the hacker is stopped, and they no longer have a way in. We know this and make sure that ours is airtight, to not allow any problems in. However, it is everybody else that is the worry. People need to be given help with the basics and whilst it may seem simple, the basics can go a long way to stopping and preventing hacks.
We each need to do our part
As the late Stan Lee once wrote “With great power comes great responsibility”. This applies heavily to this situation. We make sure that we have our devices updated and with default passwords changed on all our routers, because we know of the risks. And because we do this, we can then help people to do the same. What can often be tricky in trying to convince people that this is something they need to pay attention to, is that when we are getting immersed in tech, some people struggle to wrap there heads around it. As Nilay Patel wrote in the Verge “Everything is too complicated”.
Often the hardest part can be convincing them why it is needed. Their phone seems just fine as it is, why does it need to be updated? And explaining can sometimes lead to even more confusion. It is hard, but it is also necessary that they understand its importance. It takes just one device that has not been updated to be compromised and entire office can suddenly have ransomware.
Think of it like this: Would you leave your car unlocked? Or leave the front door open? Of course not. You understand the risk and it has been explained why this is not a good idea. The majority of us have not had this for technology and it shows.
IoT marker really aren’t helping
These days, many of us have smart devices. Speakers, outlets, TV’s, routers, the list is long. Big problem with all of these is that they do not let you change the default passwords for the administration side of the device. You have probably already realised why this is extremely worrying. Smart devices sadly have a track record have very lax security. It is so bad that California has now passed a law that requires all device sold in the state to have better security.
The more we all help, the more we can make an impact
Whilst it may often take some time to explain to them, helping non-techie family and friends understand the basics of cyber security and why they need to stay safe online helps us all. The more people who know the importance of updating their device, the less likely that hacks will happen quickly, slowing them down drastically.
And that will allow us all to be far safer online.