It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Pretty exciting, right? We get excited about it because helping you stay safe is important to us. We hope this provokes thought and helps you discover ways you can do more to protect yourself.
Fact one: Criminals focus on easy.
Sure, you’ve watched Ocean’s Eleven – the coordination, the confidence, the planning, but that’s the exception, not the rule. Pulling off an elaborate heist, planning the details, knowing who to trust. That’s all the stuff of movies. And it requires smart criminals. Moreover, motivated criminals.
The reality is, most criminals aren’t that motivated. If they can make the same money working easy, they will. That means you’ll be targeted at the easiest points of entry: passwords, networks, email, websites. These are all the things you’ve heard about. A 2007 Clark School study is one of the first to quantify the near-constant rate of hacker attacks of computers with Internet access—every 39 seconds on average—and the non-secure usernames and passwords we use that give attackers more chance of success. That was ten years ago. Imagine how that number has increased.
Fact two: Cybercriminals have infrastructure.
You know how Amway or Mary Kay work: you start out selling the products, but the way to make real money is to add representatives to your practice so you also make money off their work. It’s called Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and cybercriminals have adopted the model. The kicker is, they are using tech to make it faster and more profitable.
In an interesting 2017 study on cybercriminology, Dr. Michael McGuire found, “A hyper-connected range of economic agents, economic relationships and other factors now capable of generating, supporting, and maintaining criminal revenues at an unprecedented scale.” Cybercriminals have created platforms for running their empires and the folks who work for these criminal king-pins are structured like an MLM company. He goes on to explain trying to stop the “sales reps” at the bottom is as useless as trying to jail drug dealers. There’s always someone who will fill the void.
Fact three: It only takes a second.
The fastest way to get owned, and the easiest way for criminals to get in (see Fact One) is for you to click on a link they’ve provided. It takes just a second to click on that link and in so doing, you’ve opened a “pipe” that allows them to send code to your computer. The code, or script, can lay dormant for years or it can immediately start sending every keystroke you make – including logging into your bank, using your credit card, emailing confidential information – and send that back to the criminal’s server.
All that needs to happen is one tiny bit of encrypted code sent to your computer and it can wait there forever or send every keystroke you make back to their servers. Not to scare the pants off you, but malware today is polymorphic – fancy way of saying it is constantly evolving so it can’t be discovered as known malware – what anti-virus companies target – because once is morphs, it is no longer detectable. That’s probably the greatest risk – a hidden bit of code that can’t be found.
What can you do about all this?
At a minimum, you should be as safe at home or traveling as you are at work.
Use the InvinciBull VPN as your own personal VPN. You can try it free and it is there for your home, on the road and even at work (if you need to do something personal off your work VPN). It’s available for all your devices. Give it a try!