National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: How Do Users Become Victims?
Cybersecurity is an important part of our daily lives, whether people are aware of it or not. Building awareness that being secure online is everyone’s responsibility is a key part of fighting cybercrime. This is why one of the themes of this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month is the ‘Stop. Think. Connect™’ campaign, which promotes this very message.
Learning how to be secure online is difficult without knowing about how one can be infected. So how do today’s users become victims of various threats online?
How do users become victims?
There are multiple methods that lead to users becoming victims of online threats. Examples include email – where we get spam, including spam with malicious attachments or links to malicious websites. Threats also arrive via social media, where cybercriminals can spam users with posts and instant messages, that also contain lead to various threats.
While the threats have changed over the years, many of the methods used to deliver these threats are not fundamentally different from previous techniques. Cybercriminals still rely on email to send millions upon millions of spam every day; feedback from the Smart Protection Network indicates that almost two-thirds of email is spam. Malicious websites – including phishing sites and survey scams – are still very much in circulation.
These techniques – and other forms of social engineering – still work, unfortunately. Users, for example, have difficulty spotting a phishing scam. Others may not recognize the security issues of adware and “free” apps. Others may not recognize the risks that users of mobile banking face. Other long-standing tactics like spam, Trojanized apps from third-party app stores, and compromised sites are still a problem today. Just about everything we do online has some form of risk attached to it, and users need to be aware of these risks.
How can users avoid becoming victims?
The most important part in staying safe online is recognizing that there is a threat. Many of these threats rely on the user not knowing about them to work. An informed user will not fall victim to many threats. Informed users can also help their friends avoid these scams as well.
In conjunction with NCSAM, we will be discussing various aspects of today’s online threat landscape. Look out for various entries that discuss today’s threats, and what is being done to help combat these on a daily basis.