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How Much Do You Know About Cybersecurity?

Ask yourself these five questions to see how much you know about cybersecurity. It’s one test you can’t afford to fail.

Don Milne Oct 31, 2019

Before you are allowed to get a license to drive a car, you need to pass a driving test. But there is no license required to “drive around” on the internet. As a result, people find themselves in internet accidents more often then they would like to admit. As a society, the cost reaches into the trillions of dollars.

Maybe there should be a cybersecurity test people should take before going online. If there was, would you earn a passing grade?

Consider these 5 cybersecurity questions to gauge how ready you are to navigate your way around the world wide web:

1. What are phishing and smishing and how do you help protect yourself?
2. What is ransomware and how do you help protect yourself against it?
3. What is a VPN and do you need one?
4. Is your system for passwords hackproof?
5. Is OK to use free Wi-Fi?

How do you think you did with your answers? Are you a cybersecurity pro?

Don’t be disappointed if you failed — unless people make an effort to learn about these things, they are not going to know what to do. This is why cyberfraudsters spend so much effort at their trade — they know most people won’t see what’s coming and get conned.

The more you know about cybersecurity the more prepared you will be to avoid getting taken.  Here are some basic answers related to the above questions.

Cybersecurity question #1: What are phishing and smishing and how do you help protect yourself?

Phishing is a fraudulent email pretending to be from a legitimate source that will trick you into revealing personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. Smishing is the same trick but using text messages.

Before you fall for one of these tricks, ask yourself these questions: Is the Display Name a trick? Is it trying to work on my emotions so I act before thinking? Does the hyperlink look suspicious? Do I notice spelling errors or bad grammar? These are all red flags that should tell you to ignore the phish or smish.

Cybersecurity question #2: What is ransomware and how do you help protect yourself against it?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that will block access to your computer or files until you pay money to get a code to restore your access. It is usually delivered by phishing and it requires that you open it so it will install on your device. The best defense is to not open a suspicious file.

Cybersecurity question #3: What is a VPN and do you need one?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it allows you to create a remote connection to your trusted home or work network. If you don’t want unauthorized people getting access to the information you send or receive to your device, you need a VPN.

Cybersecurity question #4: Is your system for passwords hackproof?

For most people the answer is no. Did you know that more than 80% of data hacking breaches were made possible because the victim made the password easy to steal or be guessed?

It is tempting to make your passwords all the same easy-to-remember password. But that just makes it easier for you to be hacked.

You should not:

1. Share your password
2. Write your password down
3. Use the same password for your personal and business use
4. Use the same password for different accounts

Consider using a sequence of random words or sentences unique to you. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a password manager. These services allow you to keep all your passwords in one place and it will access them for you when you need to use them. These come with a fee, but it will be less than the cost of having your data stolen.

Cybersecurity question #5: Is it OK to use free Wi-Fi?

No. When you decide to use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, the wrong kind of actor with the right kind of skills can access the data sent or received by your device.

It would be great if the above tips were all you ever needed to know. Unfortunately, fraudsters are constantly looking for new ways to scam people, so it is worth your time to stay in-the-know regarding cybersecurity. The more you know, the less chance you have of failing to spot that dangerous pothole on the information superhighway.

Helping to protect client data is one of Zions Bank’s top priorities. Visit the Zions Bank Online Security Center to register for mobile card fraud alert service, opt in to Bill Pay or eDocuments, or to learn more about how to help guard your computer against viruses and spyware.

Don Milne is Financial Literacy manager for Zions Bank.

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