Are You Opening the Door to a Cyber Threat?

You get an e-mail from someone you know. The message contains a link and urges you to click on it. What do you do?

Clicking on that link could infect your computer with any number of issues, like installing malware, encrypting data for ransom, or planting a keystroke reader to get sensitive information.

At work or at home, your confidential information is at risk. You could spend a lot of money on computer security protection. But that won’t do any good if someone opens the door to a security threat by clicking on something she shouldn’t.

How is the Door Opened to Cyber Threats?

Clicking on an infected e-mail link can happen at home or at your organization. At home, one computer is often used by multiple people. That can increase the risk of someone clicking on malicious website or e-mail content. Similar issues can exist with any family-shared cyber environment.

At work, the risk is more significant. In addition to a risk that a user will click on a corrupted e-mail, so-called “privileged” users pose a greater risk because they have more system access than the typical user. For example, systems are completely open to unauthorized access if the system administrator does not change the manufacturer’s default password.

How to Keep the Door Closed

Avoiding security risks at home or at the office boils down to three important steps:

  1. Make sure every computer user in your home or office knows about security risks and how to avoid them. Security is part of everyone’s “job”, since any user can infect every user’s information.
  2. Install virus, malware, and other security software. Some applications are free. More robust options are generally not expensive. Whatever the cost, it’s less than losing data and taking time to fix the damage. Businesses should also implement regular breach detection procedures.
  3. Keep all operating system, application, and security software up-to-date by installing updates and patches when they are issued by the manufacturer.

Avoiding cyber security issues can be done through awareness and diligence. Following the three steps described above can prevent a cyber threat from becoming an expensive data breach or loss.