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The 7 Ghosts of Cybersecurity

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but it also well known, among the vernacular of the younger generation, as Spooky Season. Most people are more concerned with ghosts, ghouls, and goblins than they are with the dangers lurking in the dark corners of the Internet. Which is understandable, it’s more fun to think about the fake monsters than the real ones who could change your life in an instant. So, let’s make a compromise. We’re going to list the 7 scariest ghosts and monsters when it comes to cybersecurity, and we’ll try to make it as spooky as possible.

  1. Social Engineering: Social engineering is when someone tries to get information from you by manipulating you. They might pretend that they are your friend or they might send emails pretending to be someone else. These people might also give you free things, like food, and then try to get your information from you. Once the information is gathered, then the social engineer can sell it or use it to steal things. They are like shape shifters who change their form to take things from you.

  2. Phishing: Phishing is a type of attack that tricks people into giving away their login information. Cybercriminals usually send an email or text message that looks like it is from someone trustworthy. But once you click on an attachment or link, you could install software infected with malware. Sounds a lot scarier now, doesn’t it?

  3. Malware: Malware is a type of computer program that can damage or ruin your computer. It is like a monster for your computer. There are many different types of monsters, but in the end, they are all monsters.

  4. Viruses: We all know about the viruses that can infect your body, but there are viruses that infect your computer too. They come from a file sent to you by a cybercriminal. The viruses can make it so your computer is not working, and they can steal your data. Think about it this way, how much scarier would biological viruses be if they could record your thoughts and give them to someone else?

  5. Keylogger: Keyloggers are dangerous. They let hackers see what you type on your keyboard. This information can give them usernames, passwords, bank information and other personal data. It is like if someone read all your texts and emails to find out your secrets. Just the idea of it sends shivers right down your spine.

  6. Ransomware: All types of malware are dangerous, but there is a special type called ransomware. This code-based demon infects your computer by encrypting the data stored on the device and forces you to pay a ransom to get it back. These types of attacks can occur on a personal or business level. To make a spooky comparison, ransomware is like a demon possessing your friend and forcing you to give up your soul in order to get them back.

  7. The Dark Web: The Dark Web may not be something that can infect your computer, but it is definitely something you should be scared of. The Internet we use is only the tip of the iceberg, with the Deep and Dark Web taking up the rest. This shadowy hive of villains and ne’er-do-wells is where many attacks are launched from and where a lot of the stolen data is sold. There isn’t a good enough spooky metaphor for this one because the Dark Web is terrifying enough on its own.

There they are! Seven terrifying digital ghouls that will be haunting you for weeks to come. Join us next week to learn more techniques and tools that will help you avoid these possible threats!

This Weeks Cybersecurity Tips

  1. Perform Software Updates - Keeping your operating system, security software, and web browser updated will minimize threats to your network.

  2. Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software - Having this software on your devices will significantly reduce your vulnerability to an attack.

  3. Back Up Your Data Regularly - Having this software on your devices will significantly reduce your vulnerability to an attack.

  4. Encrypt Your Devices and Data - Keep your data protected through encryption, a service that scrambles your data into a code that can only be read with a specific key.

  5. Store Sensitive Information in Secure Places - Be aware of where your digital and physical sensitive data is stored.

  6. Close or Delete Unused Accounts - If you feel you aren’t using social media or other Internet services anymore, don’t just delete the app, delete your account to reduce your digital footprint.

  7. Use the SLAM Method to Verify Email Legitimacy - Before acting, check the Sender, Links, Attachments, & Message!

  8. Think Before You Click - Links can easily be disguised as something they’re not, so always hover over them with your mouse before clicking, so you know where it’s taking you.

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