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Online Danger: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from the Evil Side of the Internet

Online Danger: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from the Evil Side of the Internet

Автором Eric Cole

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Online Danger: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from the Evil Side of the Internet

Автором Eric Cole

Длина:
185 pages
1 hour
Издано:
Jan 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781683505341
Формат:
Книге

Описание

A cybersecurity expert offers helpful tips and easy-to-follow instructions on how to keep you, your family, and your business safer online.
 
The Internet is an informative, fun, and educational resource for the entire family, but it also has its own risks and dangers. From phishing to cyberbullying to identity theft, there are myriad ways you could be harmed online, often with irreparable damage. Fortunately, there are precautions everyone can take to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses—and they don’t require technical expertise. In this book, cybersecurity expert Dr. Eric Cole, provides a layman’s look at how to protect yourself online.
 
Whether you’re a parent wanting to keep your children safe online; a senior citizen who doesn’t want to fall prey to the latest scam; a doctor, lawyer, or teacher who is responsible for safeguarding sensitive data; or simply a technology user who wants to protect themselves in cyberspace, Cole explains in plain language the many steps you can take to make your computer safer, protect your email, guard your online accounts, and more.
Издано:
Jan 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781683505341
Формат:
Книге

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Online Danger - Eric Cole

behaviors.

Introduction

Now.

We want it now.

Our world so rapidly adapted to the possibilities of cyberspace, that not only do we want it all, but we also demand it now. Maybe information technology should be renamed instant technology.

No more watching a painfully slow download, waiting to talk to customer service during business hours, or checking a credit card balance when the snail mail arrives.

But do you ever feel like your trip on the information superhighway is a little too risky and you are not aware of the online dangers.

My journey into cyberspace began when I would take apart every household gadget I could lay my hands on, as soon as my mom turned her back. I have always wanted to know how technology works, and if I had to sacrifice an alarm clock or blender in the process, it has been well worth it.

This trip has taken me into the discreet world of intelligence, to corporate boardrooms around the globe. I work with policymakers and boards of directors. My interaction with the typical technology user is usually limited to my friends and family, who flood me with questions on topics from programming their DVR to installing antivirus software to quietly keeping track of their kids online.

That is actually what inspired me to write this book. Consumer cybersecurity is not very hard. Protecting your family and protecting yourself online does not require a degree in computer science. This book is filled with concrete advice and proactive tips aimed at making the digital world a safer place for all users.

I want to share with you my knowledge of cyberspace, so we can all enjoy the benefits of technology while minimizing the risks to our security that new technology creates.

Cyberspace is an extremely dangerous place, and everyone deserves to be safe when entering the digital realm. Be a warrior in cyberspace, channel your inner ninja.

And if you feel like technology is moving too fast, please make sure you have your children safely buckled in with a five-point harness!

You probably think I do not know much about parenting if I believe children have a hard time adapting to new technology. I do have three kids, and more than once I have seen them learn how to master a new app or solve a simple coding problem before I can even get my reading glasses on. But while children quickly pick up the how of technology, they often fall short when it comes to the why. After all, they are kids.

Parents and educators not only need to stay abreast of new technology for themselves, but also so they can safely guide children through cyberspace.

Allowing kids to have smartphones, electronic devices, computers, and connectivity to the Internet with no oversight, structure, or discipline is a disaster waiting to happen. As adults, we need to set the example, explain what is right or wrong, and take away their devices if they act dangerously, or cruelly, online.

Cyberspace revolutionizes more than just the gadgets and computers in our lives. It also revolutionizes crime. Imagine giving the worst kind of criminals a host of superpowers: the ability to leap continents in a single millisecond, a cloak of invisibility, and unlimited resources. At the same time, law enforcement finds itself underfunded and hampered by a lack of strong legal protections both at home and abroad.

If you think the worst cyber crime that can ever happen to you is having your credit card number stolen, think again. Everyone thinks that bad things happen to other people—until something actually happens to them.

The sooner you realize you need a cybersecurity strategy, the more protected you will be. Everyone in cyberspace is a potential target.

I will let you in on a huge insider tip. If your cyber safety is compromised, there is an easy way to find the culprit.

Look in a mirror.

Now I have you either really confused or mad. If you are not an IT expert (and most people reading this book are not), you think it cannot possibly be your fault if a national retailer is breached, and cyber crooks make off with millions of credit card numbers.

Each of us is individually responsible for weighing the benefits of cyberspace against its many risks. If you bank online, determine if the convenience of automatic bill pay is worth the potential hassle of having money stolen from your account. If you find great joy in sharing personal achievements with friends and family on social media, think about the potential consequences of your posts falling into the wrong hands.

A responsible digital citizen holds himself or herself accountable for personal cyber safety. Which brings us to another point. Sometimes people make really bad decisions online. Like galactically bad. So when your boss finds out about a nasty comment you made about him via social media, do not try to blame confusing privacy settings. You shot yourself in the foot.

At this point, it would be a little hard for most of us to pull off of the cyber roadway. It just is not practical. And fortunately, it’s not necessary. There are measures you can take to minimize risk and protect yourself, your family, and your business in cyberspace.

Like I mentioned, I serve as a resource for my loved ones when they need cybersecurity help. My children, my co-workers, my friends—they grant me the perspective to see that cybersecurity is more than numbers, more than a million credit cards breached or $1,000 stolen. Every record compromised, every account hacked is a person.

And I really care about their safety—and your safety. So join me as I show you how to drive safely in cyberspace, and maybe throw in a few ninja moves along the way.

Chapter 1

The New World Order

Do you spend more money on coffee and treats at Starbucks than you do on cybersecurity? In the grand scheme of things, which one is more important? When it comes to your and your family’s cybersecurity, do you opt for a skinny latte or a double shot of espresso?

In a world that is changing at a pace never before seen in our history, astonishing advances in technology play out before our eyes. With the advent of personal electronics, I often wonder, how did we ever survive without cell phones, tablets, and computers? How did we occupy our days, nights, and weekends?

My teenagers spend most of their time in front of a device, communicating with their friends. And hell hath no fury like a teenager grounded from cell phone privileges. When you take away electronic devices from teenagers or children, it is as if you are taking away their identity and, in fact, their very existence. Today’s kids have no idea what to do, or in a scarier sense, how to operate without their electronics.

Whether we realize it or not, and most often kids do not, these devices have us living in a fully connected world in which almost every action we take leaves behind a digital fingerprint. It is easy for us to focus on all the new and enhanced functionality in our inter-connected world, but we also need to consider the new dangers that accompany the technological advances.

Behind every email, every website, every packet that your computer receives, lurks the possibility of a malicious code with the potential to rock your world. Embarrassment, legal implications, financial loss, and even your identity are at stake. There is a new world order, and if you are not prepared, you can wind up on the short end of the stick, the victim of cyber criminal activity.

Organizations in Russia, China, and other locations work 24/7/365 to steal and exploit your digital information. The only question you have to ask: do you want to be a target? If you are not actively addressing online security, your default answer to that question is YES.

Most of us have done little to protect ourselves in a digital world. From experience, I can tell you that the cyber adversary plays a very effective offense. If you’re not prepared to respond—or even better—to counter with a comparable effective defense, you are going to lose, and the losses can be significant. This book will teach you the tips and tricks of a vigorous cyber defense.

Perception of Security

When I meet people at parties or airports, and they ask what I do, I tell them that I work in cybersecurity. Many people exclaim that it must be the coolest job. But people’s responses have not always been so positive. Fifteen years ago, that same career conversation garnered me some weird looks, like I was the smelly kid on the school bus.

Old-school thinking was that cybersecurity existed only for governments with classified information and for large companies with proprietary secrets to protect. Today, everyone—every single individual of any age—needs cybersecurity, and I consider myself blessed to work in an industry that is helping to make the world a safer place.

If you are not convinced that everyone needs cybersecurity, please turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and read the most recent—and the ongoing—reports about cybersecurity breaches. No company or government is immune to today’s cyber adversaries; it seems that every aspect of commerce or communication, government or global entity can be compromised. And, are you ready for the scariest information of all? Most breaches pass undetected or unreported, so what you see or read about reflects only a small piece of the problem.

Those of us who work in cybersecurity call this perception the iceberg effect. What you can see of an iceberg above the waterline represents a small percentage of the overall problem because most of an iceberg hides underwater, invisible and dangerous. The state of cybersecurity looks bad, but like the looming iceberg, the problem is a lot worse than most people realize.

Despite more than twenty years of rapid technological change, the average person only recently began recognizing cybersecurity as a problem to be addressed. The dangers in online interactions have always existed, but the problems are just now unfolding as an epidemic. No matter your age, background, or location in the world, if you use electronic devices, you must be vigilant about cybersecurity, and this book is written for you.

False Perceptions Make You a Target

Leaked photos from a celebrity smartphone. A presidential candidate’s leaked emails. Embarrassing voicemail messages left by a future king. Only celebrities get hacked, right?

WRONG.

Just like celebrities, you own a bank account, carry a credit card, and fill out online shopping forms—creating digital data in a wide variety of other ways. That personally identifiable information, or PII, forms your electronic identity. PII is priceless, regardless to whom it belongs.

Cybersecurity lingo includes the word harvesting. Think of the cyber adversary as a farmer. Cyber crime is a risky business, and not every seed will sprout into a profit-yielding crop. But, just like in legitimate farming, a bigger harvest usually equals a better profit.

A massive field might be too much for one farmer to handle, and the same holds true for the cyber criminal. Breaking the harvest into smaller parts, and different plants, makes for an easier yield. This strategy, too, works for the hackers.

To be more specific, breaking into one large organization to steal 5,000,000 records works for cyber thieves, but larger companies can deploy tough defenses. On the other hand, most individuals have little-to-no security protecting their online identities and assets, making it much easier for hackers to break into 5,000,000 individual computers to steal personally identifiable information. The net effect remains the same: big profit for cyber criminals and big losses for their victims.

Cyber adversaries also favor so-called watering hole attacks. Hackers target large sites accessed daily by millions of people, infiltrating cyber defenses for short periods of time. Even when the compromise of a major site lasts for just sixty minutes, it will net a significant harvest for the cyber thieves.

Wherever you go in cyberspace, and whoever you are, evil exists, and you need to be prepared.

And, instead of getting better and safer, the dangers and challenges of cyber defenses multiply every day.

Twenty years ago, I worked a compromise of 10,000 stolen records (i.e. credit cards, personal information), which was considered a large-scale incident. I told a friend that if we ever got to

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