New decade, same trends! Cybercrime is continuing on a rampant incline and shows no signs of slowing down.
The FBI Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) released their 2020 Internet Crime Report, which revealed an alarming 791,970 reports of cybercrime for the year. Damages from these reports totaled over $4.1 billion; a massive 69% increase from 2019.
This increase in cybercrime can be attributed to a number of reasons – from widespread working-at-home fatigue through to the use of coronavirus-themed scams – and it indicates that cybercrime is more dangerous than it’s ever been.
In Australia, the statistics are proportionately disconcerting, to say the least. In the first quarter of 2020, Scamwatch collated 36203 reports of cybercrime. However, in the first quarter of 2021, we’ve already seen an overwhelming 62895 reports; a 71% increase to an already alarming number.
And despite the cliche that cybersecurity is all about 1s and 0s, the vast majority of reported breaches are attributable to simple human error. As such, a bit of human awareness goes a long way.
Around 90% of cyber-attacks begin with a scam phishing email and can often end with the victim going out of business.
In a world where a simple misclick can carry severe real-world consequences, it’s important to establish habits that help you to stay aware and protected against encroaching cyber threats. A few measures you can take to immediately improve your cyber-hygiene are as follows:
- Start checking the ‘fine print’: Received a suspicious email? Get into the practice of viewing the email header to verify the sending address, and learn how to hover over and read suspicious links without actually clicking on them.
- Brush up your password hygiene: It’s been said ad nauseam: change your passwords at least once every few months, don’t re-use them, and make sure they have a mix of numbers, special characters, and both upper & lower-case letters!
- Stop snoozing updates! Many cyber-attacks occur simply because of out-of-date apps and software. When your apps and programs ask you to update, aim to get it done on the same day to avoid potential security risks.
These are some quick and simple measures you can take to strengthen your cyber posture. With a few minor changes such as the above, you can drastically reduce your risk of human error and cyber-attacks.
With that being said, if the fix was as simple as “stop making mistakes”, I wouldn’t need to be writing this article. We aren’t machines, and mistakes are bound to happen.
Rather than carrying the weight alone, there are a number of tools we can use to help stay aware and protected against online threats, such as:
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): You know that SMS code you get when you sign in to your Google account? That’s 2FA, and it can do wonders in stopping a hacker. 2FA apps such as Authy or Google Authenticator can be used on most of your logins for added security.
- Password Managers: Rather than creating and remembering all of your passwords, a Password Manager can be used to create and store a diverse range of strong passwords, directly in your browser. See apps such as 1Pass or Lastpass.
- Automated Updates: This one’s easy. If you’re sick of installing updates or if you’re prone to snoozing them, you can change the settings for most apps so that they install themselves automatically! Google your apps and their automatic update features to get your updates under control.
Experts have known for a long time that cyber-crime was always destined for a drastic incline (some even estimate that it will exceed the global drug trade in profitability), and the pandemic appears to have worsened the threat landscape even further.
Not sure about the next steps to take for your cybersecurity? Visit cyberaware.com for more key safety tips and takeaways.