Digital Defense: A Cybersecurity Primer
Cyber-attacks are increasing exponentially in the United States and around the world. Attacks in the United States are now averaging over 550,000 per week, or over 25,000,000 per year. Annual attacks on offi cial U.S. government Internet sites have doubled from 31,000 in 2012 to over 60,000 in 2014. The increase of cyber-attacks is like an epidemic, and the threats to those that are linked to the Net via a desktop computer, a mobile phone, or a wireless local area network (LAN) in an offi ce or router in their homes are of real concern.
In this short book there is straightforward and practical advice about how to defend yourself and your family against these often unprincipled and indeed criminal attacks. If you have an elderly mother or father or grandparent who uses the Internet you might buy this book for them. Or perhaps more likely buy it and go over the most relevant parts with them and arrange with them to purchase at least basic fi rewall, antivirus, and identity theft protection and set them wise to key Internet scams to look out for. We hope this book provides lots of useful advice and good counsel. But we believe it can be most useful in helping you to defend your children, your immediate family, and especially elderly family members against the increasingly sneaky trick of cyber criminals. It provides assessments of various cybersecurity offerings and tips on strategies about how to go about obtaining professional assistance from competent computer security fi rms. The small and usually reasonable annual fees these companies charge can provide you with cyber protection that amounts to far less than the losses you might incur if you do not take these precautions. Key elements that you will fi nd in this book include:
• A clear and understandable presentation (i.e., no “techno-speak”) of the various types of cyber threats that can now come to you via your Internet connections. These include, but are not limited to, viruses that can infect and disable your computer, malware that can allow your computer to send spam (unwanted e-mails out to thousands of others) for many nefarious purposes, and other types of computer trickery you should look out for. These computer tricks by “black hat hackers” (sometimes called “crackers”) keep growing. Computer criminal are getting sneakier. Such antics include what are called “phishing” and “pharming.” These seemingly legitimate messages are actually from computer criminals and might lead you to give away important passwords that could result in your fi nancial accounts being drained of money, or perhaps worse. We also provide advice about coping with “ransomware,” data bombs, and Trojans—all of which are dangers to watch out for in today’s world. We are moving into a new world sometimes called the “cyber-crime bazaar.” These are dark networks where a wide range of cybercriminal activities are conducted. Here you can buy stolen credit card numbers, buy kits to steal information off of wireless instant pay cards, or even fi nd ways to disable alarms and other protective electronic systems. Keyless entry systems are just one of the new frontiers for cyber criminals.
• Practical advice about how to protect yourself and your family from cyber criminals that are variously called “black hat hackers,” “crackers,” or simply “hackers.” We emphasize that you might fi nd this book useful to
defend not only yourself but also your spouse, your children, and perhaps most of all elderly parents who are hip enough to go online, write and read e-mail, use a smart phone, and even send out texts and Tweets but may not be the most adept at defending themselves against cyber scammers.
• In today’s world, where baby monitors and home security systems can be hacked, smart refrigerators and washing machines can send out spam, and cyber thieves with scanners can roam a neighborhood seeking out unprotected wireless routers so they can hack into bank savings and stock broker accounts, you need to be equipped to know how to protect you and your loved ones against those who would use the Internet and other electronic systems to extort money, empty accounts, capture key credit card or social security information, or steal identities.
• I nformation about the latest professional services that address cyberbullying. This abuse of the Internet has become almost an epidemic in the last few years, with dire results such as public humiliation and even teen suicides. There are professional cyber-services one can obtain not only to protect yourself against cybercriminals but also to deal more effectively with cyber-bullying. These services allow those attacked by cyber-bullies to report such attacks and bring those that abuse the Internet to justice.
• An explanation of what is “identity theft” and why this is perhaps one of the worst things that can happen from a cyber-attack. This is because it could not only expose you to substantial fi nancial loss and a very long hassle to correct the problem, but you could end up being charged with crimes that you did not commit because some criminal has assumed your identity.
• There is an up-to-date listing of various computer security services that can offer protective services against cyber criminals. These include providers of such services as “antiviruses,” fi rewalls, password protection, and insurance against identity theft. Although not foolproof these services can go a long way to protect you against cyber-attackers. There is also information on more professional ways to track down those that would seek access to your wireless computer routers and wireless LANs without authorization.
|May 8, 2018
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