Keeping your data, your network, and your company secure online is everybody’s responsibility. You really can learn how to practice safer computing, and everyone will be the better for it. Here are some things to think about in preparation for the theme of the third week of National CyberSecurity Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM).
They even have a name for it. When cybersecurity experts are asked what segment of their network is the hardest to manage effectively they call it by name…
Yes, it’s an acronym and it stands for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair.” It’s you, the computer user.
And if you think about it, it really makes sense. You are the only component in the network that is truly capable of independent thought. You can come up with many hairball ways to do things that will open holes in network security. Unlike digital devices, you do not perform the same task the same way each and every time without variation. You can make mistakes. You can be in a bad mood. You can be forgetful. You are human.
Hackers Know About PEBKAC
Unfortunately, though obviously, those who would attack your network to exploit your resources and steal your data know that users are the most vulnerable place to attack, and they are doing so with increasing intensity and frequency.
Ransomware has become the most frequent form of attack. The key to ransomware is a process called “phishing” in which users receive an email that looks like it comes from someone they know and trust. A bank. A retail store. A friend. The email asks them to either click on a link, or open an attachment. When they do, the door is opened to the attacker who comes in and either encrypts their data or steals it. They then issue a ransom demand. If the ransom is not paid, the data will not be restored.
Recently, “phishers” have become smarter. They have actually REDUCED their ransom demands, which may sound counter-intuitive. But they found that many could not pay the enormous ransom demands originally inflicted. Now, with lower and more reasonable demands they find themselves getting paid far more often.
The only defense to phishing attacks is for users to become more skeptical and more aware. They might, for example, receive an email from www.nh1earningcenters.com and not notice that the “L” has been replaced with a numeral one. This creates an entirely different address, one that could spell disaster.
How Do I Become a Better Network Segment?
The first step is simple. Become skeptical. Be suspicious of every email you receive and inspect them thoroughly looking for wrong characters in the address and other signs that the sender is not really who they say they are.
Many of the cybersecurity courses at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers are designed to help employees at every level of business learn how to be more observant and alert to phishing and similar attempts to breach their network and steal their company’s high-value data assets. Speak to a New Horizons counselor about which courses would be best for your particular circumstances.
Also, be sure to be looking at #ChatSTC on Twitter on Thursday, October 18, 2018 from 3-4pm EDT to participate in the NCSAM discussion on “Cybersecurity in the Workplace is Everyone’s Business” and check out www.staysafeonline.org.