24 Jan

10 Alarming Cybercrime Statistics for 2020

The internet allows us to communicate with one another from across the globe, find the answer to pretty much anything in matter of seconds, order food, get directions, send pictures and so much more.

But just like anything, the good comes with the bad. And the “bad” in this case is cybercrime. Being so digitally connected exposes us to significant risks, especially if we don’t take steps to stay safe.

White is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is defined as any crime that is committed with the use of a computer. This could mean an email scam in which a “Nigerian Prince” asks you to wire him some money so that he can process his visa to move to your country, but it could also be a direct attack against a company’s data and try to steal account information and credit card numbers.

Cybercrime can also be the sale of illegal materials over the internet; such as drugs or child porn. As well as abuse, such as when pedophiles try to talk to kids, or when people make fun of each other, causing harm – also known as cyberbullying.

An Underappreciated Threat

However, despite the very real threat cybercrime poses, not enough people take it seriously. It’s quite common to find people using devices that aren’t locked, or using exceptionally common passwords to secure their accounts or opening suspicious email that can give cybercriminals far too much access to their personal information.

In case you’re one of these people who do not take cybercrime seriously enough, here are 19 alarming statistics that will wake you up to the severity of this threat:

1. There is a cyber attack once every 39 seconds

According to a study from the University of Maryland, a typical computer is attacked in one way or another every 39 seconds. This could ocme in a form of direct hacking attempt,  a phishing attempt, or some other version of spam meant to infect your computer with harmful software, known as malware.

To do this study, researchers lowered the defenses on a series of computers and monitored how often they were attacked. Thankfully, if you’re’ using an anti-virus program and some common sense, you should be able to avoid most of these attacks and stay safe. But still, it’s unnerving to know just how many attacks are happening at any given moment.

2. 78% of the organisations in US have experienced a cyber attack in 2019

Although hackers will attack pretty much anyone, they often try to focus on companies and organisations that have people’s financial or personal information. Somewhat surprisingly though, hackers are increasingly going after medium and small-sized companies because large companies, although in possession of more data, use their resources to put up stronger defenses against cybercriminals. Smaller companies can’t do this and therefore potentially better targets.

3. 23% of Americans have either had their credit card or financial information stolen by hackers

This is one of those things you don’t think can happen to you until it does. It will be totally unexpected. One day you’ll you into your bank account and see a few transaction for things you clearly didn’t do.

In most cases, when this happens, you can make a claim with your bank or credit card company and get the money back, but this won’t save you from the hassle of having to cancel your card, wait for a new one, and then update all your accounts. Plus, you may never get the peace of mind back that you lose when someone gets hold of your data.

4. 30% of all US consumers were affected by data breaches in 2018

We give out our personal information to pretty much anyone, especially if they agree to ship us new clothes or fancy new gadget. In general, this isn’t a bad thing. Companies who take credit card information or other sensitive data usually take great pride in their efforts to keep it safe, but no one can be truly immune from cybercriminals. This translate to about 1 in 3 chance of being affected by a data breach at a company you do business with.

5. Already more than 1,000 data breaches, exposing 147 million records just in the 1st nine months of 2019

That’s just a little more than 100 breaches a day. If this doesn’t make it a hit home that cybercriminals are a constant danger, nothing will. Luckily our defenses make it s so that most, but not all, of these exposed records are not overly sensitive. However, this stat should serve as a reminder as to why it’s so important to put up the strongest defense possible.

6. Number of data breaches is growing each year

There is no reason to think this threat will go away if we just “wait it out”. As more and more of the world goes online, there is more valuable information than ever, meaning cybercriminals have considerable incentive to try and hack into a company’s system and steal your personal data along with that of hundreds if not thousands of others.

7. Mobile malware variation has increased by 54%

This is a stat that reminds us how hackers and other cybercriminals are constantly improving the techniques they use to attack us and steal our information. Malware, which is a blanket term for the many different types of infected software hackers try to get you to install by phishing you, is getting more complex, especially for mobile devices.

Once considered safe from hackers, our dependence on our smartphones has hackers creating lots of new software designed to get to our data. And this new malware is increasingly varied, , meaning it’s difficult to identify and to block, which just means we need to be constantly

8. The economic cost of cybercrime in the US is between $57 – $109 billion

This cost comes from things such as: paying back funds lost to fraud, compensating those who have had their identity stolen, giving or losing money to false fronts, paying ransoms to have viruses removed, and much more.

This is not something that happens every once in a while and that doesn’t cause much harm. Instead, as mentioned above, it’s a constant threat that can have severe consequences, such as

9. The cost of cybercrime to the global economy is around $445 billion per year

It’s important to remember this is not just a problem in the United States. Cybercrime is a huge problem all over the world, with some countries experiencing even more problems than others. A good example is Indonesia where you have a 76 percent chance of being affected by a cyberattack. All of these attacks come with a price tag, and in total, they cost the global economy close to half a trillion dollars a year

10. We lose $1.48 billion to phishing

Phishing is the tactic scammers use of trying to get you to be the one to let them into whatever system they are trying to hack or to outright steal from you. They usually use email, but they can also call or text you, and they are relying on you to click the link in the email that will trigger a download onto your computer.

Other emails might be made to look like they’re from someone you know, or a complete stranger (such as a Nigerian prince), asking for money to help them out of a sticky situation. Always verify these before sending anyone anything, especially money or your credit card information.

It seems silly thinking about it like this that people would fall for this. But many email users aren’t aware of the risks and/or that hackers are always finding new ways to trick us.

Cybercrime: Not a laughing matter

The threats cybercrime poses to not only our financial security but also our personal safety are at times overwhelming. It can feel as though there is no escaping. But while this is a very serious matter, taking the proper steps to defend yourself can go a long way.

Make sure all your accounts are protected with a unique password, use anti-virus software, stay out of your spam folder and don’t open anything you find in there unless you’re 100 percent positive it’s safe, double-check URLs and email addresses, and always follow the golden rule: when in doubt, don’t click.

If you follow these steps and work to constantly educate yourself about how to protect against the threats we face online, you will avoid being a cybercrime statistic and will be able to browse the web in peace.

Article used with permission from BroadbandSearch

02 Jan

Turning it off and on again: The power of the power cycle

Popularised by shows like The IT Crowd, it’s a question thats become a joke, a meme, a clich: Have you tried turning it off and again?

For all the derision and disbelief it gets, turning a device off and on again a process technically known as performing a power cycle or reboot has been proven to fix all kinds of issues. Engineers, computer scientists and tech workers at all levels swear by the humble power cycle.

You’ve probably power cycled your personal computer at some point when a program stopped responding, or your modem and WiFi router when your internet connection had issues. What you might not know is that power cycling is used to fix problems in all kinds of electronic equipment, from cameras to network servers in data centres to even commercial aircraft.

In fact, on the Apollo 14 mission to the moon, the astronauts were instructed by mission control to power cycle the landing radar circuit breaker after it failed to lock on. They did and it saved the landing.

So the next time you hear tech support ask that question, I can assure you that tech support isn’t being lazy by suggesting a power cycle! If turning it off and on again works for multi-million dollars pieces of equipment, it can work for you.

So why do we power cycle our WiFi router?

Any WiFi router is basically a small computer with a specific purpose. Like a PC or smartphone, a WiFi router has a lot of programs running as well as its own internal memory which tracks and records data like the network activity running through it.

The longer the device runs, the more likely an error or a bug might occur in its many processes, resulting in a memory leak or corrupted data being transmitted over the network or the system just crashing.

Doing a power cycle basically ends every single process and returns the computer to a known, stable state. You’re not solving the problem so much as wiping the slate clean and allowing the computer to restart all its processes from a clean slate.

In many cases, it’s much more effective to return a computer back to this known base state rather than to spend time and resources trying to diagnose exactly which process went wrong and fix it.

In other words, power cycling doesn’t actually fix the cause of the problem but if it’s just a one-time software error or bug, it’s an easy way to get rid of it.

There are reasons to wait

While turning it off and on again sounds simple enough, people tend to skip one of the important bits: waiting 10 to 30 seconds before you power up the device again.

This waiting window is for the power in your device’s power capacitors (basically little batteries that store energy) to discharge and every bit of memory cleared. This ensures that your WiFi router is properly rebooted and returned to a stable state.

Electric capacitors

That said, if you’re power cycling your WiFi router and modem to troubleshoot an internet connection issue, you may need to wait a few minutes for your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network to release your modems information i.e. to terminate its existing session.

Turning your modem back on would then allow it to acquire new information i.e. start a new session when reconnecting to the ISP’s network.

On a final note, it’s important to note that doing a power cycle (or a reboot) is not the same as doing a reset. So if you see a little button on your WiFi router that says reset, don’t push it if you’re just looking to do a power cycle.

Remember: doing a power cycle or reboot is different from a reset, don’t press that little “reset” button unless you have to!

A reset typically means reverting the device to its original default factory settings and erasing any updates, new passwords, or any configurations you’ve made to it since you took it out of the box.

Article first sighted on MyRepublic Blog