Whether you realize it or not, Internet security is one of the most significant issues of our day.
Twenty years ago, the Internet wasn't part of our lives and Internet security wasn't even a serious issue for nerds. But today, Internet technologies touch everything we do and I don't know anyone who hasn't been effected by a hack of one sort or another. When people ask me whether we ever have cyber attacks, my honest answer is always, "We're almost certainly having one right now." Hackers are constantly and relentlessly banging away in the hope of finding an exploit so they can steal credit cards, scam some money, make away with secrets, take down a website, send spam or otherwise cause harm.
With all the cyber attacks being reported in the news, it seems as if hackers really never do sleep. If you look at Norsecorp's live map of cyber attacks the world over any time of the day or night, the amount of activity at any given moment is truly astonishing. Yes folks, it's past time to start looking at your digital security differently. Think about what data you store digitally, where it is and how it is secured.
Recent Internet security victims in the news have included such notables as Target, Sony, Madonna, the IRS, the US Government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and many others.
Although you don't hear much about it on the news, this one likely represents the most serious threat the US has ever experienced because among the stolen content is a 100+ page personal history of over 25 million present, former and prospective government employees including top secret employees and contractors. Those documents describe every detail of personal lives, work history, background checks, friends, family and associates in foreign countries, health and financial history, usernames, passwords, fingerprints and much, much more. The opportunity for ramifications from that breach alone will be reverberating for decades.
Even hackers themselves and Internet security firms are getting compromised. A hack last week of the Italian firm Hacking Team who sells hacking tools was breached, putting all those tools in the hands of criminals the world over. While discovery of the extent of this hack is ongoing at this writing, those tools included at least three serious zero day (no patch available) exploits, so if that firm had them, you know other hackers have other ones.
Within the last week, over a million people were fooled into downloading the Android game Cowboy Adventure from Facebook that stole all their usernames and passwords.
What to do?
I share all this to raise awareness so you will perhaps be less prone to becoming a victim yourself. Internet security starts with you. Think a moment before clicking on an email attachment from an unknown source or visiting a suspicious link or a website that has sketchy roots. Think twice before buying that nifty refrigerator, home security system, remotely accessible thermostat or other gadget that talks to you via the Internet. Do you really need that thing? If it is talking to you, it can talk to everyone else in the world, too. And DO THOSE UPDATES! The two zero-day exploits mentioned above on Microsoft Windows and Flash were finally patched, but if you don't do the update, you're still vulnerable.
We are living in times when technology and Internet security are really hard for suppliers to secure. Code is complex and can have holes in it the programmers never thought about. Hackers fool people every day with social engineering tricks. The day may come when this all gets better, but right now the pace of change is too rapid for you to have confidence that someone else will see to your security. See to it yourself and you will be much safer. This applies to a broader landscape than just the Internet, but in the online world, it's critical.
111 Web Studio wishes you well as you travel today's information superhighway. Watch out for those potholes and give us a call if you need any help with an awesome website, getting found on search engines or some advice on how to stay safe on the Internet. Call 877.397.7605 or contact us for more information.