The Important of Cyber Security
It seems to be about every day we hear the term “Cybersecurity”. However are you really sure what that word means? Well Merriam-Websters website defines it as “measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack”. Now that brings up thoughts of hackers getting into your personal computer at home and diving into your deepest darkest secrets. But your computer is only one of many “computer systems” that we hold such sacred information in. We at Black Tie IT want to make sure that you are well informed so that you can be better protected in the digital world.
We hold other devices in a higher regard than our desktops that are also considered computer systems. Our smartphones are the one that we tend to forget about at a computer system. We use it on a daily basis for so many different purposes. We call all of our loved ones. We share information on text or multimedia messaging. We store our credit cards in them to make checking out at the store or gas station much easier. We use it as a notepad for all of the miscellaneous information that we don’t want to forget, such as social security numbers, account numbers for our banks or car loans, school information and even grocery lists and budgets. We take pictures of the food we eat and the places we go and let the phone tag the location of each picture, making a detailed chronology of our movements and the things that we do. Our desktops computers at our house don’t store nearly the information on us that our phones do, because we rely on them more than any other device we have. And yet when someone talks about cybersecurity threats, we immediately say “Oh I’m fine because my home computer has the newest antivirus on it”. That’s great! You are 10% protected. Next time you go to the beach or spend a day at the pool, cover 10% of your body with sunscreen and see how that works for you.
Coffee Shop wifi
Next time you go to the nearest coffee shop and pop on the wifi, take a look around. Would you set your wallet down next to any one of the people in the shop sitting there on their laptops and walk away for a few minutes and trust that they wouldn’t take it? Probably not. Yet when you are on a public wifi in most coffee shops or retail establishments, you are at significant risk. It doesn’t take much for someone with a minimal amount of cyber-knowledge to attach to your devices and see what you have going on in there. All of those retail establishments do an amazing job of protecting their registers and inventory systems from intruders. They have expensive firewalls to make sure that anyone on the public wifi does not have access to their internal systems. But they don’t put too much care and concern into their customers and the devices that they use. If you are on public wifi, you are fair game. There are solutions however. Many services are now coming up that offer free or low-cost VPN (Virtual Private Network) services that will secure and encrypt your internet connection anywhere so that no matter how insecure the wifi or network is that you are on, all of your information is protected with a virtual barrier to keep intruders out.
However phones are not the only device that are classified as “computer systems”. We enable our houses with devices that help us be more efficient. Our thermostats regulate the temp in our house and allow us to cool or warm our homes prior to arriving. Our door locks are set to open when we get close to the house. Our appliances warn us when we are low on something or if they are left on. The lights in the kitchen turn on automatically at dusk and off at bedtime. Even our Alexa or Home Assistants are voice controlled to allow us to order groceries at a moments notice or turn on our favorite shows before we think about it. Now think about even 15 years ago, and imagine that someone came to you and said that they had a device that would always be listening to everyone in the household and would respond to voice commands and control your house or your spending. I am not alone in the thinking that we would have never let that happen or even get close to our homes. Yet now we not only invite it, but we put multiples of them in our house every day. All of these systems are potential targets for people with ill intent. We have to take extra precautions with every device we invite into our lives.
We can help you. We can give you suggestions on changes to make and advise you on steps to take to protect yourself from threats. Those threats are not just going after your home computer; they are all around us, every day. Even now as you sit there and read this there are thousands of computers and people behind them trying to access your information. Let us help you keep yourself safe in the digital world that we live in.