National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Be Aware and Beware

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, when global events on the topic have become top of mind for people and businesses in recent years, given the staggering number of recent data breaches and global ransomware attacks. NCSAM  was launched in 2004 under leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

It is the perfect time of year for individuals and organizations to reflect on the universe of cyber threats and to do their part to protect their networks, their devices, and their data from those threats.

Cyber criminals do not discriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether they are part of a large corporation, a small business, or belong to a home user.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility in which everyone has a role to play. WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya attacks have dominated the news headlines. So, where do we stand on our cyber-health…and where do you stand?

Cybersecurity has remained front page news for much of 2017. It is not a stretch to say that we’ve never faced such a frightening cyber security landscape, from ransomware, targeted phishing, and other email security threats to major breaches compromising the data of hundreds of millions.

After all, we lead Internet-connected, digital lives. From our desks and homes to on the go, we work, learn and play online. Even when we are not directly connected to the Internet, our critical infrastructure impacts everyone.

Ransomware is the top threat facing computer users as Interpol reveals massive 2017 cybercrime “epidemic” taking over PCs as well as internet-linked devices like routers and CCTV cameras to turn them into tools for criminals,” reported the European policing agency Europol.

As far as we’ve come, those with malicious intent have strong incentive to stay ahead of those trying to stop them. Where we might be ahead of them, there are always people who aren’t on the front lines and aren’t regularly updating their cyber security strategy. For this reason, an annual Cyber Security Awareness Month makes sense. It’s a great opportunity to make efforts to improve your protection. It’s also a great opportunity for those who are not aware of the dangers to get informed, to be aware and beware.

In December 2016, Check Point and Europol released a joint report called ‘Ransomware: What You Need to Know.’ Check Point’s consumer product line is ZoneAlarm, a world leader in mobile privacy protection and consumer Internet Security.

Ransomware are malware designed to extort money from users whose computer they infect. Recent innovative methods for infecting, monetizing and targeting lucrative targets show that this attack vector is growing in sophistication since its primitive yet effective origins.

“The last year has been exceptional, given the size and the type and the range of the attacks that we’ve seen,” Europol director Rob Wainwright said, detailing an annual review of Internet crime threats.

“Growing sophistication in the cyber crime community”, where criminal groups band together to deliver “cyber crime services”, is becoming the major engine of growth in online crime undertaken for illegal profit, he said.

Despite the increase in threats, the Check Point and Europol report also notes “tremendous operational successes” in fighting cyber crime. At last, good news!

If you wish to secure your home computer with the proper technologies and making cybersecurity awareness a priority (and if you’ve read this far, that means you are), ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware is your best choice to protect your home PC against extortion attacks.

Read more

Europol: Ransomware Was the Top Cyber Threat in 2017

Fall Is Here, Don’t Fall Victim to Ransomware

What is Ransomware – From A to Z


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