With cybercrime instances projected to exceed a worrying $6 trillion by 2021, almost every sector out there — including healthcare, finance, government, and tech —invest in cybersecurity now more than ever. Doing so helps protect their business and organisation, as well as the millions of customer and employee data they hold.
Cyber Smart Week 2021 is an excellent initiative by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in New Zealand to raise awareness around cybersecurity — helping individuals and organisations protect their interests.
In this blog, we explore more about Cyber Smart Week 2021, including why it matters, how cyber threats affect you, and what measures can help prevent them.
What is Cyber Smart Week 2021?
Cyber Smart Week 2021 is an initiative by the New Zealand government to increase the country’s cyber-resilience. It also aims to provide citizens with simple yet robust solutions to protect themselves from various cybersecurity threats.
Cyber Smart Week is an annual awareness campaign that will take place from 18–24 October this year.
Read here to know more about this empowering campaign.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important?
Cybersecurity refers to the practice of securing systems, networks, and any other digital infrastructure from unauthorised malicious attacks.
It protects different categories of data from various kinds of online attacks. This data includes personal, confidential, or sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property, protected health information (PHI), and other governmental or industry information systems.
Now, you may ask: Do I have a high chance of becoming a victim of cyberattacks? The answer is yes.
The rapid growth of IoT devices paves way for new vulnerabilities that many advanced hackers can easily exploit. When data breaches and information leaks happen, this potentially incurs huge costs to a business or an organisation.
How Can Cyber Threats Affect You?
Cyber threats today come in all shapes and sizes. It could be in the form of ransomware attacks (hijacking important business tools or products in exchange for money) or more covert operations wherein cybercriminals infiltrate a system to gain confidential data.
Some of the most common types of cyberattacks include:
Phishing is the practice of sending malicious communications (usually in the form of emails) designed to appear from genuine, reputable sources.
These emails use the same logos, names, wording, etc., to minimise suspicions and get victims to click on harmful links. The end result is hackers get access to sensitive data.
One way businesses can protect their emails from these spam emails is by installing email protection or any other anti-spam service.
Malware is another malicious software such as ransomware, spyware, viruses, and worms. It is activated when a user clicks on a malicious link or attachment, which can lead to installing dangerous software.
Denial of Service
A denial of service (DoS) is a unique type of cyberattack that floods your system or network with traffic so it can’t respond to requests. While a distributed DoS (DDoS) does the same thing, in this case, the attack originates from a computer network.
After gaining access to the right password, a cyber-attacker has access to a host of information. One of the examples of this password attack is social engineering. This type of cyberattack relies on human interaction and involves malicious practices to get people breaking standard security policies.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Such Threats?
Always use two-factor authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication is an easy extra step in the login process, similar to entering a code from an app on your phone. The option to turn the 2FA option on your accounts and apps is generally available in the privacy settings of the app or account.
Use a password manager
Having a different password for each of your online accounts is crucial to ensure robust online security. However, remembering unique passwords for so many apps and online accounts can be a challenging task.
The simplest way to remember and secure them is to use a password manager. It’s similar to a powerful online safe that stores and manages your passwords — keeping them safe using strong encryption techniques.
With a password manager, you only need to remember the one strong password for your password manager, and everything else will be taken care of by the program itself.
Keep your privacy in check
When it comes to remaining cyber-secure, learn to be aware of how much information you’re sharing, and most importantly, who you’re sharing it with.
All the information you share online gives cybercriminals easy access to your personal data.
It’s crucial that individuals and organisations check every request for personal information for legitimacy before sharing their details online.
The rule of thumb is to ask yourself a simple question — why is the company or business asking you this information? If you’re unsure of the answer, don’t share the information.
Regularly update your devices
Another way to protect yourself from cyber threats is by not ignoring the update alerts on your devices. Make sure to install an update as soon as it is available, along with adding new features and updating/fixing any issues that have been found.
Regularly updating your software prevents cyber attackers from using these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access to your information. A better way to do this is to set automatic updates whenever a new version is available.
Be cyber safe, be cyber smart
While cyberattacks and online threats are an ongoing fight to deal with, you can prevent them by being aware of the different types of exploits, tools, protocols, and resources often used by malicious hackers. Cyber Smart Week 2021 sensitises you about all such important information.
In addition to this, knowing the solutions to deal with cyberattacks, such as site protection, cloud backup, and SSL security, ensures that you’re creating robust preventive measures to protect your business.