Nowadays everyone knows about computer viruses and understands that clicking links or browsing recklessly can land you, your business and your computers in a world of hurt. Even knowing where problems lie, malware and other viruses are still a real threat. In short, the answer to the titular question is simple: you do.
While emails from Nigerian princes and estate lawyers of long-lost uncles are easy to spot as scams, it’s not always so easy to identify true malware. In a USA Today report, phishing attacks had risen by almost 300% between 2017 and 2018. Since hackers find this method an extremely lucrative avenue for cybercrime, this trend is only going to increase over the next few years.
Even emails from apparently trusted sources can contain links and malware, sneaking past even the most discerning eye. Threats don’t always come from Trojan viruses downloaded as email attachments, either. In 1998, hackers began to rely on malignant URLs as their primary method of attack at a rate of three to one compared to downloads. The simple act of clicking on links within an email from your bank can give the wrong people access to sensitive data.
Small Business, Big Problem
Financial hackers, like hunting carnivores, often look for the weakest victim to assault. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigation Report, 58% of attacks were perpetrated on small businesses. That means companies that can’t afford the same protections as larger corporations take the brunt of cybercrime damage.
The aftereffects of a cyber attack can be disastrous, especially for small businesses who can’t afford the costs of repairing the damage to their infrastructure and clients. Most hackers and malware finds its way into companies via unwitting workers. Since these businesses can ill afford such an injury, it behooves them to better prepare their systems and employees for eventual attacks.
Another reason people believe they are safe from internet viruses involves their operating system. It has long been believed that Windows computers are the main targets of cybercrime. Back when hackers were more interested in making waves than scamming individuals, this may have been the case.
Unfortunately, this urban legend is completely unfounded. While the Mac OS is stable, it is hardly impenetrable as attacks on these systems increased by 270% in 2018. Hackers take advantage of this myth and constantly develop new malware to undermine devices before new safety measures can be put into place. Having a Mac is still a good decision for the security-minded, but it is a system that’s still wide open for Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) and adware.
One of the biggest trends today has become fertile ground for hackers. Companies like Facebook and Twitter bring people together, but also provide avenues for cyber attacks that put a host of users at risk. A threat in 2018 saw many Instagram users shut out of their accounts with usernames and passwords changed. Even worse, hackers then had access to any user data, possibly giving them access to even more sensitive information.
Cybersecurity never affects a single individual. Like a natural virus, malware worms its way into your computer and reach out to everyone you know in order to cause the most damage. Antivirus software is the best way to safeguard your systems from attack, keeping not only your information safe but also securing the data of friends, family and coworkers as well.