Cyber Security - How Important is it Really?
Technology has been expanding at such a quick unprecedented rate throughout the world. There has been new technology and gear invented. With the new gear and technology, the world has become small and interconnected. There is vast amount of information and the possibilities at the user's fingertips. The users have access to anything and everything that is on the world wide web, but with that access comes the feared cyber threat. The average American needs to have the basic understanding of cyber security because every single person who has access to any multimedia is at risk of cyber threat.
There is a wide range of individuals who use multimedia devices. These people include young and old individuals.
Some 50 percent of respondents to the most recent survey reported that their children created a social media account before the age of 12.
Some 77 percent of kids with accounts use Facebook and Instagram, 49 percent are on Twitter and 47 percent are sharing photos and videos on Snapchat. (Whitten, 2016)
This shows that the youngest users have access to multiple social media websites as well as cell phones. All users, young and old, need to be aware of all the risks out there. These people are vulnerable to a cyber threat. These users need to understand the type of risks and threats that are occurring at their fingertips. With the understanding of threats and dangers, users can better protect themselves and their privacy.
There are so many ways that people connect to the internet and each other these days. New cars come with Bluetooth radios that link to their driver's phones. GPS can be hacked into and used to know where your location is. vehicles are often installed with Bluetooth capable devices that includes a GPS. The vehicles are often installed with OnStar or some different type of GPS assistance service. According to John M. Vincent, an expert in car rankings and advice, if Bluetooth is not secured accurately, hackers can access the CAN bus and ill-intentioned signals can be inserted into multiple systems of the car (Vincent, 2016). Smart tvs, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, smart watches, cell phones, and other streaming devices are all connected to the server or internet in some type of way. Anyone that uses any of these devices is at risk for a cyber threat and that is why it is crucial that their cyber security awareness is increased.
There are many organizations and companies that require annual cyber security awareness training, such as the United States military. Many times, this training is repetitive and monotonous. These trainings are typically done through lectures and/or Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. However, there is a company that has developed a video game based cyber security awareness training. The new training is supposed to make the users think and make decisions that will make them retain the training they received. (Cone, Irvine, Thompson, Nguyen, 2007). To be able to retain the training that is given is essential to making wise choices when users connect to both the internet and other devices. Many organizations spend billions of dollars a year to increase their technology and cyber footprint, however, the weakest part of any cyber security program is the cyber awareness of the user and employee. (Aloul, 2012).
Social media has become something so popular among the world and the users are the everyday type people who may not be aware of what cyber security threats are lurking out there. "While corporations and government agencies around the world are training their staff to think twice before opening anything sent by email, hackers have already moved on to a new kind of attack, targeting social media accounts, where people are more likely to be trusting." (Frenkel, 2017) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snap Chat are examples of social media. Users create online profiles and use it to communicate with family, friends and even strangers. More than 65 % of American adults are actively engaged on social media to include, Facebook, Linked In, and Google Plus (Perrin, 2015).
Each person uses social media different. For some, social media is used as a way to stay connected with old and new friends, family and past classmates. Some use their social media account as a way of entertainment. Some people watch videos, play games, share videos and pictures, and maybe even to just pass the time. Social media is easy to use and anyone who has a smart device and internet has access to social media. It makes for easy targets for cyber criminals.
According to a reporter for Telegraph, a British newspaper, "Three-quarters of children aged between 10 and 12 have social media accounts despite being below the age limit, a survery on Safer Internet Day. Social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat require account holders to be at least 13 years-old." (Jamieson, 2016) This shows the young audience that is now on social media, and that means they are unaware of the risks that are at play while being on the internet. Cybercriminals use a third party app that allows them to gain information from the user, without the user even realizing it. These criminals also use scams to fool unwitting victims into giving them money, such as a Craigslist scam where someone says they will pay the individual if they send them their banking information. Many criminals are able to hide their identity and create another identity to make people trust them and will give out information that could harm them. Hackers send out fake links and emails to unsuspecting users and these links look identical to legitimate websites. It can leave users unwittingly unprotected due to putting their information on websites they believe to be safe. However, unfortunately, they are really giving all their information to a cyber threat.
A great thing about people's favorite social media sites is that there is many security features. Although, these features are not always something users are aware of. The website Facebook has privacy settings that will only allow the user's friends to see what has been shared and posted. Another setting that can be changed is to be alerted when a user is tagged in a friend's post or pictures. This allows the user the control of what is allowed to be shared to the public before being fully uploaded to the world to see. Facebook also has an option that makes it impossible to be searched and will not pop up as a suggested friend to other users. With these privacy settings set to their max capacity, cyber criminals will have a tougher time stealing important information on social media. This is the exact reason why it is necessary to train the average user about the dangers of cybercriminals on social media.
The last reason a basic understanding of cyber security is crucial is that identity theft is on the rise and everyone is at risk. Famous stores like Nieman Marcus and Target admitted that hackers had stolen millions of people's credit card data during the Holiday Seasons (Arlitsch & Edelman, 2014). If everyone would protect their personal information, such as name, address, social security number, and other important details, they would be a harder target for criminals. Many of the people who fell victim to identity theft did not know they were a target. "You may not know that you are the victim of ID theft until you experience a financial consequence (mystery bills, credit collections, denied loans) down the road from actions that the thief has taken with your stolen identity." (USA.gov, n.d.)
Often times, these cyber criminals are able to find the information needed to commit identity theft through open sources. Phishing involves emails sent to individuals that look as authentic as possible could be that lead the user to send them their personal information. Now, the criminal has gotten what it needs and can steal their identity. There are even times criminals will dumpster dive and steal personal information. This is why it is very important to shred all important documents that contain personal information. Since technology has increased, so has the amount of identities that have been stolen. Substantial amounts of data are obtained by the adversary through stolen devices, skimmers, and social engineering techniques (Arlitsch & Edelman, 2014). "Hackers will connect to public WIFI networks or unsecured home networks looking for personal information. Savvy hackers may even install key logging software that can track websites that you visit and passwords that you enter. Protect yourself by avoiding online banking on public WIFI networks and make sure your home network is secured."(How Thieves Steal, n.d.)
With technology ever growing, and growing fast, new ideas and trends are always popping up. It is more common for people to be connected through various devices, day, then ever. These devices are connected through servers and the internet. Social media has become the most common way for the average everyday user to stay in contact with one another. It is also being used for a place to put personal, confidential information out to the public eye without even realizing it. With the use of social media and the internet being so relevant, identity theft is occurring more often than it has ever in history. There are more unwitting suspects to attack now. With all this information, it proves the importance of cyber security knowledge to everyone. Remember, knowledge is power!