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As our world continues to go online in more ways than one, we are more vulnerable than ever before. Our world has transformed into a global village, where everything is within reach, never more than a click away. It has made life very easy; everything from shopping, learning, working, teaching, and even entertainment is available over the internet and extremely convenient.

As great as the rise of the internet has been, it does come with a few downsides. We are now exposed in many ways over the internet. Our personal information is on many platforms, and with a large number of children on the internet, things are just not safe anymore. Our families are always at risk of cybercrime, which has now become more sophisticated than ever. With smart new ways to dupe the users, hackers are coming up with innovative methods day after day.

In context to all this, it is now very important to stay safe over an internet connection. And, of course, keep your family safe too. The internet can be a scary place for kids and teenagers if not handled properly. This article discusses some of the top ways through which you can keep yourself and your family safe over the internet.

What is Cybercrime?

In the simplest of sense, cybercrime is a crime that is committed with the help of computers, especially over the internet. While many home internet networks are up-to-date and loaded with adequate security systems, all of them are not. That leads to an increased risk of cybersecurity activities.

Cybercrimes not only lead to financial losses but can also lead to much more. From extortion to unsolicited advances and other forms of online torment, cybersecurity breaches can be a very dangerous thing indeed.

Cybercrime in 2021: The Staggering Stats

Cybercrime has been on the rise for the past five years but it is not until we put a number on it that we realize how big the problem is. According to the FBI Cybercrime Report for last year, the nation suffered over $6.9 billion in losses due to cybercrime activities in 2021 alone.

Extortion, identity theft, and data breach are among the top three most common crimes. Phishing is one of the next most common cybercrimes and is seen quite a lot by the public, especially among older generations and children. Unfortunately, this figure continues to go up every year.

Unless something is done to curb it, the ill effects of the rising cybercrime activity can escalate very quickly. Of course, it is much easier said than done but having prior knowledge of these cyber crimes can help you look out for them to keep yourself and your family safe.

Common Cybercrimes That Plague Our Society Today

Cybercriminal activity comes in many forms but there are a few types of cybersecurity threats that are more common than others.  

Here is a quick rundown of some of the things that you can expect a cyberattack to look like:

Man-in-the-middle Attacks (MITM)

A man-in-the-middle attack is kind of like a Chinese whisper game with the wrong people.  A perpetrator inserts himself between you and a business while you are online. Say like when you are trying to make a purchase and entering your card details online onto the platform. The man-in-the-middle not just intercepts your personal information but may also use it.

Man-in-the-middle attacks can be used to spy, steal information and even pretend to be one of the two parties in a transaction. The final goal of a MITM attack is to steal vital personal information such as login credentials, banking details, credit card numbers, and such.

Denial of Service (DoS)

A DoS attack is when a computer or server is flooded with access requests from fabricated return addresses, so much so that it overwhelms the system because requestors cannot be authenticated. When multiple systems target a single computer to carry out this attack, it is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). A DoS or DDoS attack can mean heavy losses in financial terms to big enterprises.

More often than not, a DoS attack will compromise a corporation’s network by pinging repeatedly and flooding the system with unnecessary information. The system then fails to respond to legitimate requests. This means the loss of thousands of dollars in business, not to mention, all the recovery costs to help get the system back online.

Phishing Attacks

A phishing attack is often disguised as harmless emails or legitimate web pages but is used to steal private and confidential information. An attacker or hacker pretends to be something they are not, to get your information. Emails are the most common medium for phishing to happen, so it pays to be careful about what information you choose to let out.

Malware Attacks & Types

Malware is malicious code that makes its way into your computer undetected. From here, it can cause problems by interfering with the system, as malware usually does. Malware can also take up the role of spyware, through which it steals confidential data from your computer and sends it elsewhere. Malware attacks are dangerous because they can lead to monetary losses and also compromise the integrity of your personal systems.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a unique attack, which is often done by hackers with an ulterior motive. Ransomware attacks covertly enter a system; they are distributed through phishing emails or infected hardware. Once in, a ransomware virus unloads and locks out the user until a ransom is paid to the anonymous hackers. The problem usually clears up as soon as the payment is made via cryptocurrency, but no guarantee is ever given.

Ransomware is a way for hackers and cybercriminals to make money off of huge establishments that cannot lose money by going offline and losing vital data. Ransomware is one of the most common cybercrimes seen in the world today.

Easy Tips to Take Care of Your Family Online

Cybersecurity is a continuously rising nuisance but one that can be battled with the right arsenal. Some of the things that you can do to protect your loved ones from cyberattacks are given below. Not all these tips may work for you but these are best practices to follow.

Pick the Right Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Picking an internet service provider that serves you on multiple fronts is a rather exhausting business. However, you absolutely have to consider the security that your internet service is providing. While many internet services do not offer developed security suites with their connections, a handful of providers do. For instance, Xfinity gets you an advanced security suite with their gateway device. And with Spectrum, you get a security suite thrown in for free with the network.

Having an internet service with a built-in security suite makes all the difference. Your internet connection is always secure from all sorts of external threats.

Stay in the Digital Loop

Given the ingenuity of modern hacking and cybercriminal threats, it is important to stay on top of the game. Ensure that you always stay connected to the news of the digital world. You should know what the new fads are in the world of cybercrime. Educate yourself and your family on what to look out for and what to avoid.

Prevention is always better than cure and in this case, staying updated on the latest tech news will keep help you plan your prevention strategies!

Oversharing is Seldom Good

In this era of Instagram and Facebook, it is very easy to overshare your personal life. Making friends online is easy, and a good thing too, but you do have to remember that not everyone online is a friend. You have to learn to set boundaries with the people you meet over the internet. They are nothing more than strangers. Whether you game on international servers or have online hangouts with them, always be on your guard. Not everything is meant to be shared online, especially with people you hardly know.

It can be difficult but you have to take out the time to counsel your teenage kids. They may not understand the importance of keeping life, events, and other information private, which can put your house and family in a very vulnerable position.

Your Home Network is Your Sanctuary – Keep it Safe

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that your home internet network needs to be protected too. We often ignore the importance of home networks although that should not be the case. Your home internet connection is your safe place; it ought to be the most secure channel ever. The only way you can do so is to ensure that you change your network passwords often and choose secure ones every time.

Come up with a unique combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t share your password with anyone Remember, if your home internet connection is prone to cyberattacks, all your confidential information, banking details, login details, and the Internet of Things (IoT) become vulnerable to attack, and possible misuse.

Phishing Scams can Often Look Innocent

No official platform will email you asking for banking details, your social security number, or other personal information. This is what you have to remember next time you get an email from a source that looks vaguely legitimate. Phishing scams are getting smarter by the minute, getting better and better at pretending to be legit channels. This way, people are tricked into revealing personal information without ever knowing what actually happened.

Install Effective Firewalls in Place

All of these prevention strategies are good, but nothing beats the good old charm of a firewall. A firewall is trusty software that not only protects your computer and systems from cyber threats but also routinely scans the system for any hidden ones. Regular updates on your firewalls also ensure that your software is also well-matched to the new type of attacks. This way you can stay protected around the clock, without ever having to worry about a thing.

Have Solid Backups in Place

It is always better to hope for the best but you need to prepare for the worst. Although all these measures are good at protecting you from external threats, there is no reason why you cannot be extra careful. Hence, it always pays to have regular backups, preferably stored in an external hard drive or a very safe online cloud service. Whatever the case may be, if you do come under attack for some reason, at least all your data can remain safe and downloadable to your new system.

Control and Manage System Access

It is vital to strictly control the number of people accessing your system. Your system has a collection of all the most important information concerning you. Keep a strong tight group of people you trust completely. Only trust them with your system access. Don’t let new people into your computer system and on your Wi-Fi networks.

Final Word: How Important is Cybersecurity in 2022?

With so many aspects of our life being handled over the internet, it is no surprise that cybersecurity is a big part of our life today. With the rise of the internet era, the web being infested by cyber-attacks is quickly becoming a norm. The stats are staggering and mind-blowing, with more and more incidents occurring every single day.

Fortunately, however, cyber-attacks can be deterred with the use of the correct technologies and these fool-proof ways. It is a great idea to choose an internet service provider (ISP) that gives you a security suite with your internet service.

After all, you can never go wrong with a little extra security!

FAQs

What is a data breach?

A data breach is when a corporation’s security systems are compromised leading to unauthorized access to private information. Data breaches are becoming more and more common with the rise in hacker activity in the past few years.

What is the Cyber Essentials scheme?

Introduced by the U.S government, the Cyber Essential Scheme hopes to increase the security level for companies. This scheme includes the following,

  • Malware protection
  • Internet gateways and firewalls
  • Secure configuration levels
  • User access controls and management
  • Patch management

What is spyware?

Spyware is a kind of malware that covertly hides in your computer system. It then relays all secret information from your end to the receiver end and allows third parties to access your private info and insight into your system.