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Basic CybersecurityNo-one can afford to ignore basic cybersecurity. With ransomware on the rise, it is more important than ever.

This will be the first in a series of articles about ways to keep the people and data you care about safe online. Among the things I plan to cover are:

  1. Why Bother With Cybersecurity? (this article)
  2. Password Security Made Simple
  3. Anti-Malware Solutions – 5 Vital Elements
  4. Trust – Increasing Sales With SSL Security
  5. Backups
  6. Privacy
  7. Software Updates
  8. The “Internet of Things” (IoT)

…and more. I may write a bit about Website Security too, though BestVPN’s Blogger’s Guide To WordPress Security has already covered that well.

So, with that said, let’s deal with the first question that far too many people ask…

Why Bother With Cybersecurity?

Well, the obvious answer is, “Cybersecurity protects the people and things we care about”. All too often though, that prompts the reply, “Well, I haven’t got anything worth stealing.”

Seriously? You think criminal hackers know – or care about – that?

Hackers seek the weak points in systems. “White hat” hackers do so to predict and defend against the attacks that criminal (“black hat”) hackers will launch.

Black hats will exploit the weaknesses in any system they can. Even if you don’t think you store anything “worth stealing,” they see your computers as resources to hijack. They often link such compromised systems into remotely controlled “botnets”. These can then speed up tasks like password cracking, or swamp higher-value target computers with data requests. Such “Distributed Denial of Service” (DDoS) attacks may mask other attacks, and can even bring banks and internet giants to a halt.

(EDIT: …and as I was writing this, major hosting company DreamHost was experiencing a major DDoS attack. Can you be sure your computer wasn’t involved?)

Black hats also trade access to these botnets. So, they have a financial incentive to hack you, even if you can’t see it. They’d love you to ignore cybersecurity. If you do though, you could find your “sluggish” computer is actually busy hacking your own bank.

Because You’re Worth It…

Besides, your computer probably does store things that are worth stealing. Few people would like their personal and business documents, photos, email, bank details and internet history to fall into the hands of criminals. That’s how ransomware and identity theft work, after all. Keeping personal information private is the most basic security need of all.

Don’t kid yourself. You’re a target. In fact, like lions and other top predators, hackers generally hunt the weaker members of the herd. So, being an easy target makes you more of a target.

It’s Not All About You (Sorry)

As we all become more and more connected, your approach to cybersecurity affects those around you, too. It’s no coincidence that we use names like “virus,” “Trojan (horse)” and “worm” to describe various types of malware delivery systems. Ignoring cybersecurity is like being an anti-vaxxer – regardless of your belief, it puts others at risk. Especially others who are close to you.

Don’t be the weak point that lets them into your home or company network. Make a habit out of good cybersecurity.

Conclusion

The best security is invisible when it works. Sadly, that makes it easy to overlook and undervalue – until it’s too late.

Can you ever be 100% secure and safe? No. Someone with enough will, skill, time and resources can break through any security. Anyone who promises 100% security is selling a lie for their own gain. What these tactics will do is make you a harder target than those who don’t follow them. You don’t always have to outrun the lion – only the guy next to you.