Traditionally, Cyber Crime has only affected larger organizations and companies. Their market visibility made them an obvious target. Larger companies have been dealing with 'hacks' (and more accurately, Crackers) for decades. They used to figure data blackmail simply as the cost of doing business. In this day and age, it can cost them their business! There are also legal ramifications if they don't properly address their IT Security duty.
The first rule of business is to Reduce Your Risk. Cyber Criminals today also follow this rule. Today, Criminals have found a more lucrative market, with almost NO RISK to them. That market is Small and Medium Sized businesses. And it's a large market. In Canada, there are over 2.2 million targets to choose from with almost 1 million in Ontario alone.
The emergence of BitCoin has given these criminals a PERFECT escape route. It's like an invisible getaway car. Typically, these criminals will hold your data (database, documents, email, etc) hostage by encrypting it. They then ask you to pay them in BitCoin and will provide simple and clear instruction on how to do it. If you don't pay them within a certain amount of time (usually 24 or 48 hours), they delete your data. And they do. Not nice. We've put this list together to help you avoid most cyber attacks.
Use different user ID / password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, special characters (minimum 10 characters in total) and change them on a regular basis.
Consider using a Password Manager Software. Password Managers today are sophisticated, yet are surprisingly simple to use. You won't have to remember *every password because the password manager remember and will input your password in the appropriate page for you.
Bonus: KeePass (www.keepass.info) is a FREE, robust and super easy Password Manager to use. You only have to remember ONE password. The password to KeePass. Once you actually try it, you'll wonder how you ever worked without it. Seriously. Try it!
Make sure your social networking profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MSN, etc.) are set to private. Check your security settings. Be careful what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever!
Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers. Only download applications from trusted sources.
Keep your applications and operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux) current with the latest system updates. Turn on automatic updates to prevent potential attacks on older software.
Use encryption for your most sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records, make regular back-ups of all your important data, and store it in another location.
Wi-Fi (wireless) networks at home are vulnerable to intrusion if they are not properly secured. Review and modify default settings. Public Wi-Fi, a.k.a. "Hot Spots", are also vulnerable. Avoid conducting financial or corporate transactions on these networks.
Be cautious when giving out personal information such as your name, address, phone number or financial information on the Internet. Make sure that websites are secure (e.g. when making online purchases) or that you've enabled privacy settings (e.g. when accessing/using social networking sites).
Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin. Don't feel pressured by any emails. Check the source of the message. When in doubt, verify the source. Never reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or confirm your user ID or password.
Don't panic! If you are a victim, if you encounter illegal Internet content (e.g. child exploitation) or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft or a commercial scam, report this to your local police. If you need help with maintenance or software installation on your computer, consult with your service provider or a certified computer technician.
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