3 myths about internet and cyber-security

In this modern day anyone is able to pick up a laptop and throw a couple of hundred words onto a web page about any topic whatsoever; so how can we tell whether the article you’re reading is factual and relevant?

The Internet is crawling with poor quality content that’s there solely to give the author a presence on the internet (which is why we’re told a thousand different things when we’re looking for one simple answer on Google). This issue is all too relevant when it comes to technology, it seems like everyone is a ‘tech blogger’ or ‘cyber security expert’ these days.

Conflicting content goes hand in hand with technology, internet and cyber security. Everywhere we look we’re given different tips on how to keep your business safe online, very few of which are relevant or trust-worthy.

Malware, ransomware, DDOS attacks, phishing and identity theft are all on the rise as the Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M communications (M2M) is becoming more popular. This paired with the fact that it’s harder than ever to decide which content to trust has caused many myths arise.

That being said, there are articles out there that address the importance of online security, but we don’t even feel safe enough to follow their steps. We’re stuck in an ongoing battle of sifting through trustworthy and irrelevant sources. So ignore the clickbait, obvious exaggeration and content-churners; we’ve debunked 3 of the most common myths when it comes to internet security so you don’t have to…

Myth #1: “I’m not a target to cyber attackers”

We like your optimism. No really, but what makes you think you aren’t a target?

It doesn’t matter what internet connectivity solution you’re utilising; just because you aren’t ‘rich’ or don’t use your devices for business-use it doesn’t mean that you’re invisible to threats. And if you’re sat there thinking to yourself “well even if I do get hacked there’s nothing the hackers will find that’s of any value”, you couldn’t be being more naïve.

How many times have you saved a password or bank details to a website? Hackers target vulnerabilities in your system to collate data about you, no matter how insignificant you think that data is.

The truth is that they don’t have an interest in how important or how ‘big’ a target you are, they just focus on the vulnerable. There’s a plethora of security options out there to choose from, so don’t take it personally, you’re a target; just ensure you have software such as Norton or McAfee in place to avoid being a victim of cyber-crooks.

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Myth #2: “I’ll be fine; I already use a security application”

Let’s get things straight, no security solution will make you completely immune to cyber-attacks. Even if you’ve forked out for the latest security application unfortunately you’re still not 100% safe… Sorry!

We all fall for intriguing marketing or convincing salespeople, and that’s because they’ll tell us everything we want to hear in order to make a sale. So, you might have been told your system is now bullet proof, but the sad truth is it’s not. Admittedly you’re now less vulnerable, but it goes without saying, you can’t just rely on one security application.

By putting all your eggs in one basket and utilising a single security program, you’re simply trusting one individual line of defence to prevent financial-stealing, malware and other non-traditional attack vectors. Multiple waves of defence is much more effective.

If you want to be at minimum risk you need to have multiple forms of security in place. Here are a few examples of free security applications that you can implement within your system. As long as you’re well educated in cyber-security and all your software is updated regularly to the latest version, your data will be better protected.

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Myth #3: “I don’t access unsafe websites, why do I need security software?”

We’re aware of many methods a cyber-hacker uses to entice us in and give them access to our network, but that doesn’t mean we know all their hidden tricks. It can be as obvious as someone emailing you with ‘an offer you can’t refuse’, or a more complex, invisible method.

Although it’s the easiest to spot, cyber-crime including malware, phishing and identity theft doesn’t just stop at email. What we’re saying is you can’t rely on your own common sense to spot a cyber-hacker’s tricks. There are plenty of other vulnerabilities you could be susceptible to including website exploits, malware in ads and other invisible security breaches.

You don’t even have to click on some websites to be swarmed by malware, in fact some of your favourite and most-trusted apps can be the source of a security breach. Just last week Unroll.me were in the headlines for selling on private and personal data to Uber; it goes to prove that even the sites and apps we put our faith in can cause you problems. So keep your wits about you, read the Ts & Cs and invest in security software. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

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Bio: George is a Digital Marketing & PR Assistant for telecommunications and IT specialist DuoCall.