Some common online security myths busted

Some Common Online Security Myths Busted
Photo by Taskin Ashiq on Unsplash

When it comes to cybersecurity, just about everyone understands that there are dangers to be faced online. So, we install antivirus software, are careful about what we download online, and set passwords to protect our information. Is that enough, though?

Not according to the specialists in online security and security awareness training, EveryCloud. Their research turned up some grim statistics regarding the extent of the cybersecurity problem. They put together an infographic to give you the highlights, and you can see that below this post.

In this post, though, we’ll take a closer look at some of the more cherished security myths and see whether or not they really do hold true.

My Firewall Keeps me Safe from Attacks

The truth is that your firewall keeps you safe from some attacks, not necessarily all of them. If a hacker has found a loophole in the firewall program that you use, you’re vulnerable. And, if you download a file, or open an infected file on your email, the viruses may be able to bypass the firewall immediately.

Also, like with any kind of anti-virus protection, it is only really effective if it is up to date. It’s important to conduct regular updates to ensure that your program is updated if there are any new types of malware doing the rounds.

My Site is Secure Because I Use HTTPS

Again, not true. Your site is better protected with HTTPS, but the protocol is actually there to protect data on the site. A determined hacker can find a way to breach security, even if you have this protocol in place.

My Website Host Provides All the Security I Need

A lot of hosting services do provide some form of basic malware protection, but it is usually extremely basic and not actually enough protection for your site. These companies may allow you to upgrade to better security if you pay extra, but otherwise, you’ll need to take steps to secure your site.

There are many good plugins that provide malware protection. It also pays to regularly go into your site and check to see whether or not any data has been changed. It’s good practice to update your password for the site at least once a month or so.

I Don’t Go Online So My Computer is Safe

True, you’re not going to be subject to online attacks. But there are lots of ways for a hacker to get their viruses out there. It could be easily attached to a file that you copy and later upload to your system. The only way that your computer is completely safe is if you don’t go online with it, and if you don’t ever read external media devices or disks on it.

My Business is Too Small to be a Worthwhile Target

That’s exactly what the criminals want you to think. And, considering that 43% of cybercrimes are aimed at small businesses, completely untrue. Think about it from the point of view of a criminal. What is going to prove an easier target – your business, or a large corporate like Google?

Now, obviously, hacking Google would be every hacker’s dream. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime data heist. Which is why Google takes a lot of precautions to secure user’s accounts. They have the resources to pay top-notch security experts and install state-of-the-art systems in order to secure their data.

So, hacking a big corporate is not all that easy after all. Besides which, even if you do get it right, you’re bringing a lot of heat down on yourself. Which do you think would get more attention from the authorities – Google and its millions of user accounts being hacked, or your business?

Add into that that Google takes great pains to train staff to be alert to security issues, limits the amount of data that anyone employee has access to, and regularly scans its systems for signs of intrusion, and it becomes obvious why criminals prefer targeting smaller businesses.

Your business might not be the biggest target, but it’s likely to be a much softer target than would be the case with a  large corporate business. There are also likely to be more gaps in security. So, while the payoff isn’t great, neither is the amount of work that the hacker needs to do to gain access.

I’ve Got a Great Password

Okay, maybe you have come up with a really strong password. But is it at least sixteen characters long? Does it have a good mix of special keys, letters, and numbers? Is it a completely randomly selected sequence of letters and numbers, rather than spelling out a word?

If you answered, “No” to any of those questions, your password is not quite as strong as you might think.

At the end of the day, cybersecurity is about more than choosing a good antivirus program. You need to be aware of the different forms of attack that criminals might use. You can find out a lot more about this topic by checking out the infographic.

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