All South Carolina residents need to protect themselves from the digital threats we face in today’s world – from hackers to scammers to ransomware and malware, not to mention growing concerns about the dark web. Compounding the problem is the rise of social media where we overshare our personal information, compromising our privacy and opening the door to fraudulent activities.
How big is the problem? In a recent survey, almost 50 percent of respondents indicated they definitely or most likely were victims of cyber abuse – everything from online harassment to ID theft. Even more telling, nearly 80 percent of respondents indicated that family or friends have experienced cyber abuse of one form or another.
Unfortunately, cybersecurity awareness is at best an infrequent topic of conversation for most people. As shown in the research, just 6 percent of families have regular conversations about cybersecurity issues, with an additional 20 percent indicating that it’s a topic that comes up from time-to-time. The conclusion from this and other research is obvious: individuals and families are failing to even minimally protect themselves from cyber attacks.
The good news? Keeping yourself and your loved ones safe online is achievable. Here in South Carolina and on this site, we have a wealth of information, software tools and industry professionals on tap to help keep you and your loved ones from becoming cyber crime victims. Cybersecurity for individuals and improving cybersecurity for all South Carolinians starts with awareness of the risks and taking advantage of the available resources. And remember, we’re all in this together.
While cybersecurity efforts often seem to focus on things like software updates, most cyber abuse is preventable through awareness and good cybersecurity hygiene. Phishing scams and weak passwords are still behind most successful cyber attacks. Educating people on how to protect themselves and spot would-be hackers goes a long way toward keeping Oregonians safe online. You’ll find plenty of resources here and across the web.
Cybersecurity information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Consumer protection from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Non-profit organization dedicated to educating individuals and families about safety, privacy and security.
Non-profit dedicated to helping parents keep children safe online.
Advice on surveillance self-defense with numerous guides and tutorials.
Here are nine cybersecurity basics everyone in South Carolina can implement today to protect their data, privacy and online security.
Be careful about what you share on social media and review your privacy settings (not everyone in the world should be able to your family photos).
Backing up your computer is your first line of defense against a disaster.
Apply software updates on a regular basis, including your operating system and all applications
Distrust communications even from trusted vendor until you can verify whether it’s a scam or not.
Scammers and social engineers use public data about you to their advantage and they sound very legit. Hang up and call the institution back at a verified phone number.
Use complex passwords you can remember and do not use anything in your password (or password hints) that you might have shared on social media.
More and more companies offer multiple ways to identify you. When offered, be sure to take advantage of the extra protection.
This is an effective way to see in real time if someone is attempting to take financial advantage of you or your family. If you have not frozen your credit – go ahead and do that as an added layer of protection.
Type your name in Google to see what comes up. In many cases you can choose to op-out and limit the information being published online about you.