Nowadays, the internet, along with all manner of digital devices, simply seems to be everywhere. These technologies have fast turned into the necessities that we need for our everyday survival. And I don’t say this lightly. Just look around you. Chances are that you’ll find somebody busy with his or her mobile phone. Or somebody dabbling with his tablet or notebook. Or even totally immersed in his wrist smartwatch. Many ISP vendors in the U.S noticed the incoming signs of this technological revolution early on. And a few like Spectrum Internet even optimized their services for mobile device users. With the result that now we seem to have evolved into an entirely new species because of them.
The Future is here…
Think the character Data from the Star Trek: The Next Generation series. Complete with all his blinking machine interfaces!
Yes. The future envisioned in popular science fiction lore is here! And as a techie, this makes me glad in some ways. But in others, not so much. And this latter case has a lot to do with the issue of cybersecurity. The very pressing concern of viruses, hackers, and all kinds of malicious online programs. All of which will be the subject of this post.
My main focus, however, will be on some of the key ways in which you can keep all your connected devices safe from these threats. Because every now & then, I think that we all need some brushing-up of our knowledge bases.
It never hurts to become surer about everything we already know. Because in this way, we get to discover something that we might have missed earlier on.
The Cybercrime Industry
Just like every other band of criminals, the cyber world has its own brand of thieves, extortion and scam artists. They are commonly referred to as hackers. And just like bounty hunters, they can be hired through the exchange of large sums of money.
Hackers are experts in both the intricate software & hardware aspects of computer systems. Of all devices that have something to do with microprocessor circuits, in fact. And so they know how to exploit their weaknesses.
Hackers can work on their own. They can target random people through their malicious code. And once these individuals get caught, they become easy to blackmail. It is a very common practice for hackers to steal people’s personal information like credit card numbers and pin codes.
There have also been numerous cases of hackers breaking into business accounts and stealing confidential blueprints. And when they have all this sensitive material, they make ransom demands. That can often amount to thousands and even millions of dollars. It depends on how important the stolen information is to the victim party.
Hackers are also employed by state governments to wage cyber warfare against their enemy countries. This is common practice for intelligence agencies. What they do is that they target government department websites. Their aim is to stop them from working, so as to fan the public’s anger towards the parties in favor.
Russian Hackers – and the 2016 U.S Presidential Elections
In the 2016 U.S Presidential Elections, American intelligence agencies collected a lot of evidence that pointed to Russian interference. And this was the opinion of many private investigation organizations and media outlets as well. The aim of the Russians, of course, was the Clinton campaign; because of its open anti-Russia bias.
And many people, including the bulk of U.S Democrats, attribute Donald Trump’s victory squarely on this meddling.
Five Ways to Keep Your Devices Safe
In order to protect yourself from malicious online attacks, you can resort to the following list of suggestions:
- Always Keep Your Antivirus Software Files Updated
- Keep Your Firewall Updated
- Limit Unknown USB and Flash Device Usage
- Make Your Passwords More Complex
- Don’t Connect to Open WiFi Networks
I’ve elaborated on each of these points a little briefly below.
Keep Your Antivirus Software Updated
This is important to safeguard your devices from all the latest online and offline threats. Award-winning programs like the classic Norton Antivirus and Avista are some good examples. And make it a point to never connect to the Spectrum Cable Company internet without having one of these applications lurking in the background.
Keep Your Firewall Updated
Keeping your firewall program updated is just as important. New versions of Microsoft Windows and Apple iOS come installed with these protections by default. And their updates roll out on an almost daily basis, on occasion.
Limit Portable USB and Flash Drives Usage
Always keep your USBs for your own use only, and avoid other people’s devices like the plague. Because this is one of the best ways of getting your computers infected.
Complicate Your Passwords
Make your passwords lengthy and filled with complex characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. In this way, it becomes harder for hackers and hacking applications to gain unauthorized access to your personal accounts.
Don’t Connect to Open WiFi Networks
These are the kinds of networks that come without any password locks, so they are accessible to everyone. And just as easily, they can fall prey to clever hacking attacks aimed at stealing users’ information.
Fortunately, my Spectrum Bundles Home WiFi connection comes with server-ended antivirus protection. And so on a day to day basis, I don’t need to be too concerned about this issue. But my kids have a knack for opening all sorts of strange websites. And despite all my security arrangements, my desktop still got infected. Which was a bummer!