In today’s digital world, people are online more than ever, using internet-connected devices for everything from working to leisure. Unfortunately, this also means that a majority of users are at risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks. Hackers are constantly developing new types of cybercrime to help them creep into and disrupt our digital lives. And as more people work, shop, communicate, and learn online, it’s crucial to follow a strict cybersecurity protocol.
But what happens if, despite your best efforts, you fall victim to cybercrime? Below, we’re discussing the emotional aftermath of cyber-attacks, as well as how to minimize your risk. Let’s take a look!
The Negative Emotional Effects of Cyber-Attacks
Many technology users are aware of the financial consequences a hacking event could pose, as well as the challenge of trying to retrieve or replace lost data. However, few understand the emotional toll these cyber-attacks can have on victims. The psychological repercussions of a data breach or another event have a similar impact to tangible crimes, such as home burglary or auto theft. Some victims report feeling violated by a cyber-attack, coupled with emotions like anger, anxiety, embarrassment, fear, and isolation. The risk of financial losses can also contribute to emotional distress, especially for small business owners or freelance workers.
The good news is that there are a variety of steps you can take to avoid risks, especially when you partner with a trusted computer service provider. First and foremost, however, you must educate yourself on current digital threats, such as the common types of malware, viruses, and ransomware, and how to prevent them.
What Increases Your Risk of Falling Victim to Cybercrime?
While it’s important to understand the threats that exist online, it’s equally essential to know what can put you at risk of being targeted by hackers. That way, you can estimate your current threat level and take any necessary measures to minimize it.
Here are a few things that can put you at risk for cyber-attacks, as well as some tips to ramp up your security protocol:
Regardless of your browsing habits or how often you use your devices, it’s vital to have the latest anti-virus software installed and updated on your computer or tablet. Because the technology industry is constantly changing and progressing, software often has a short life cycle. Therefore, you must keep an eye out for updates and complete them as soon as possible when they become available. Without the latest upgrades from the software developer, you could miss out on crucial security patches, which increases your vulnerability online.
Not Recognizing Phishing Attempts
Phishing attacks utilize emails, text messages, and phone calls to trick unsuspecting users into divulging private information, such as Social Security numbers or financial data. These attacks are often tailored to the victim in an attempt to be as convincing as possible. In some cases, they could even appear to be sent by a colleague or friend. Even worse, hackers carry out billions of phishing attempts per day and are constantly working to refine their strategies and fool unknowing computer users. With this in mind, it’s vital to remain vigilant and educate yourself on the telltale signs of a phishing attempt.
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following information and tips for identifying potential phishing attacks. Be sure to report and refrain from opening suspicious messages that fit the following criteria:
- Directs you to follow a link to make a payment.
- Appeals to your charitable nature and requests donations for a particular cause.
- Claims to have detected suspicious activity and log-in attempts for social media, banking, or other accounts.
- States that you must provide personal information to claim funds.
- Offers a coupon for free goods or services.
Downloading Apps, Software, or Anything Else to Your Devices from Unknown Sources
The seemingly endless number of applications and software available online today can be enticing. However, without proper due diligence, downloading apps and programs could open your system up to devastating viruses. Therefore, it’s always best to utilize your device’s official store to download applications and software. This helps to ensure that all of your digital tools are safe, legal, and up to date.
Avoid Cyber-Threats with Help from a Dedicated IT Support Team
Protecting your information online may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With a team of tech experts in your corner, you can keep all of your devices and data safe at all times. At NerdsToGo, we specialize in cybersecurity best practices and can help you develop an effective strategy for mitigating risks. We’ll start with a technology evaluation, which helps us identify potential vulnerabilities within your system or network. Then, we’ll offer various data security solutions, such as anti-virus software installation, malware removal, data backups, and more to keep you safe. We also provide convenient remote support, so you don’t have to worry about packing up your devices and visiting our storefront in person.