Here's When You're Most Vulnerable to a Cyberattack
In our digital world you are at risk — find out what you can do about it.
Cybersecurity expert Sam Wilson has created hundreds of passwords for online accounts.
Most of these passwords are more than 20 characters and random sets of letters, numbers and symbols. Sam only remembers one password – the login for his password manager.
The tool he uses help keep his accounts and devices secure from potential threats against his personal or business information.
Sam, who has a background in technology and advocates for strong cybersecurity best practices, knows cybersecurity threats are real and costly.
About every 13 seconds, a business falls victim to ransomware attacks, according to Cyber Defense Magazine.
“Humans are often the weakest link in any system,” Sam said. “No one should assume that they are not a target of interest.”
And employees of businesses should be cautious.
“If you can be associated with a high value target, that makes you a collateral target.”
Here are three situations when people should be more vigilant in maintaining good cybersecurity practices:
1. When you travel
When you’re at an airport, traveling on a flight, staying in a hotel or dining in a restaurants you are susceptible to nefarious players who want to access your information.
“Any places when you’re jumping on public Wi-Fi makes you especially vulnerable,” Sam said.
During a trip, you’re likely preoccupied – looking at reservation information, checking email, hailing a rideshare. That makes you vulnerable, especially if you’re in a rush or traveling internationally.
How to protect yourself: Use a VPN service, even if the WiFi is password protected. That will encrypt your traffic, which will reduce the chance of someone accessing confidential information.
2. When you are at home
Hey smart speaker: Are you hackable? As our homes become more connected, they are more at risk. Everything from internet routers, security cameras, printers and other devices that run software can be hacked.
How to protect yourself: Perform regular or automated software updates on your devices to keep them current. Also use multi-factor authentication on every account where available and a password management tool. “There are very affordable tools that are designed to make good security behavior as easy as possible so we should take advantage,” Sam said.
3. When you use a USB
While there isn’t a threat around every corner, we now live in a hyper-connected society where new types of attacks can have rapid and far reaching consequences. Threats can be found in USB devices (even e-cigarette chargers have been proven to be hackable.)
“The last thing people need is to suffer the inconvenience or worse of becoming a victim of a cyberattack,” Sam said. “People are finally becoming more aware of their social media footprint but now more than ever, they need to go beyond. If their personal devices or computers are compromised, it won’t matter how careful they are on social media, anything private is at risk.”
How to protect yourself: Only use USB devices and cables from locations you are familiar with and trust.