It was 17 years ago when the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security marked October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and ensure all Americans have access to resources to increase their online safety and security. With each new generation of technology, it becomes more important than ever for individuals and organizations to play a role in protecting their personal and business information.
What is Cybersecurity and Why is it Important?
According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, cybersecurity is the art of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorized access or criminal use via digital attacks.
Society is reliant on technology nearly every day both for socializing and conducting business. Think about all of the personal and valuable information that may be exposed through email, social media, smartphones, credit cards and banking transactions. These are just some examples and as our reliance for digital technology grows, highly-sophisticated cyberattacks to gain access to sensitive data and financial information will remain a threat to individuals and businesses.
This is why cybersecurity is so important! Everyone can take part to defend and protect all categories of digital data. This includes personally identifiable information, financial information, medical and healthcare information, sensitive business information and more. Cybersecurity makes it harder for cybercriminals to succeed, but they understand that today’s online environment offers them unlimited opportunities to commit crimes.
Are Cybercrimes Increasing?
Information theft is the fastest-growing segment of cybercrime and it’s largely driven by the increasing exposure of identity information to the web due to global connectivity and the use of cloud services that store sensitive data. Poor configuration of cloud services paired with increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals poses the risk that organizations may suffer from a cyberattack or data breach to commit identity theft.
However, it's not the only target. Industrial controls that manage power grids and other infrastructure can be disrupted – and even destroyed. Cyberattacks may aim to compromise data to breed distrust in an organization or government or demand a ransom to restore access to a company’s network and confidential files. Cyberattacks regularly affect businesses of all sizes and can often cause irreversible reputational damage to the companies that fall victim.
Protect Your Business and Sensitive Data Against Cybercrime
As a business owner, it’s crucial to increase cybersecurity to help reduce the risk of cybercrime.
Social engineering remains a common form of cyberattack with ransomware and phishing being the easiest form of entry as does access through third-party vendors who process a company’s data. Data leaks assist cybercriminals with gaining access to internal networks and breaches of sensitive data. Investing in tools that limit information loss, monitor third-party vendor risk and scan for data exposure on a regular basis is important so the majority of data breach incidents can be avoided.
Cyber threats can come from any level of an organization so it’s important to educate staff about social engineering scams and other sophisticated cybersecurity attacks. By educating staff, they can learn how to identify and correctly respond to cyber threats. And help lessen the chance your business will be infiltrated by cybercriminals.
Report Any Cybercrime or Attack Immediately
Any victim of a cybercrime, whether an individual or business, should immediately notify local authorities to file a complaint and their financial institution(s) to protect their finances. Be sure to maintain and record all evidence of the incident and the suspected source. Below is a list of the government organizations you can file a complaint with.
- Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Report identity theft and get a recovery plan.
- If you are a victim of online crime, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Compliant Center – a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White-Collar Crime Center.
To remain your trusted financial partner, we are happy to be a resource to help you stay cybersecure by protecting your personal and financial information. Visit our Identity Theft Information Center and read more of our articles on the topic of Privacy & Cybersecurity to stay up-to-date on the most recent scams and what you can do to make sure you don’t fall victim.