Cybercrime is estimated, according to a 2019 report by Cybersecurity Ventures sponsored by the Herjavec Group, to cost the world close to $6 trillion annually by 2021. The Herjavec Group, is a global cybersecurity firm, which reported that cyber-attacks are currently the fastest growing crime. Everything from stolen money, theft of personal and financial data, loss of productivity and the damage and destruction of critical corporate or individual data is categorized as cybercrime. Unfortunately, the hackers and those that commit cybercrimes are becoming more and more sophisticated. The recent major data breach of the Marriott Hotel chain exposed up to 500 million guests with their names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and email information being compromised.
Although these numbers are staggering, there are certain steps you can take to help protect yourself against cybercrime:
Use tight security measures:
Obvious to some, but create passwords with various letters and characters (like a hashtag, a question mark, the percentage sign) and also change frequently. Don’t use birthdates, names of children or anything else that is a common descriptor – make it as difficult as possible for someone to decipher what your password is. Also, two-factor authentication – anywhere you can use this, take advantage of making your account more secure. It is an extra layer of security which requires you to enter a unique code, sent to your phone, every time you log into your account.
2. Update your computer’s operating systems
Update your computer and phone’s operating system when you receive a notification. First, verify, the notification is legitimate. Also, if you have the means to purchase a new computer/laptop every few years, it is recommended since new operating systems are always enhancing the security on those systems.
3. Be cautious when opening emails from financial institutions
Don’t open any attachments from your financial institutions unless you are 100% confident of its origination. If there is any doubt, place a call to the company for confirmation, but look up the number on-line to ensure you are contacting the actual place of business.
4. Always use secure Wi-Fi to access accounts
Don’t use free Wi-Fi services. Always make sure you access your files, especially your financial accounts, on a secure server.
With fraud and cybercrime costing companies and individuals billions and trillions of dollars universally, it is so important to be smarter and more diligent in all of your online transactions. By following the precautionary measures mentioned above, you are significantly reducing your exposure to cybercrime.
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