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Stay Safe from Security Breaches with Common Sense

Another day on the internet, another reason to wonder whether your data is safe. There's no quick fix to the problem of cybersecurity, but we can all take simple steps to protect against persistent threats.

Not againThe CopyCat malware infected 14 million devices that use Google's Android OS. The NotPetya ransomware infected computers across the world. The WannaCry ransomware, which disrupted everything from the National Health Service of the United Kingdom to German railway company Deutsche Bahn, is practically old news.

 

Almost everywhere you turn in 2017, there's another reason to fear for the security of your system and the safety of your personal electronic records and information. Even the empty threats like the Jayden K. Smith Facebook "hack" probably raise the blood pressure of as many people as the number who are savvy enough to laugh them off.

 

What is the matter with everyone and everything?!

 

The most dangerous and unpredictable element of any attack is also the one that's easiest to correct. A lack of security awareness, and the frequency of bad decisions, both on the part of individual users, typically accelerates the damaging effects of any malicious software, whatever its origin. People are the problem.

 

And people are the solution: With better security training and greater awareness of simple best practices among computer users, many digital attacks would fail to gain the traction that turns them from problematic outbreaks into global cyber-pandemics.

 

There's an excellent article in the new July issue of Certification Magazine spurred by the nearly forgotten "old news" of the may WannaCry scare. Security expert Jane LeClair addresses the problem largely from an organizational perspective, but her 10 Commandment of Cybersecurity can be applied to anyone who uses a computer.

 

For example, backups, particular of vital personal or organizational data, should be both routine and frequent. The more often you save the most recent version of your most important files, the less vulnerable they are to encryption, disruption, deletion, and other nefarious objectives.

 

Here's another one: Is your social media profile essentially an open book, transmitting details about your ambitions and frustations without regard for how any of that information could be used against you? Hacking isn't limited to computer code, and hackers often find entry points where you may least suspect they'd look.

 

The digital world doesn't have to be a frustrating and anxiety-inducing spook factory. It's next-to-impossible to not work or interact online in 2017, but with a little more attention to small things, it could also become far less likely that you'll become the victim of a breach or attack.