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Online Security Trends and Threats

Below are highlights of the cyber security threat landscape predicted for near future and suggestions for what to do to protect your information.

  • Mobile Devices (laptops, cell phones, thumb drives, etc)
  • Hacktivism (attacks carried out for political or social motivated purposes, e.g. Wikileaks)
  • Exploits Of Social Media (Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, etc)
  • Increasing Use Of Apple Macintosh Computers
  • Botnets And Malware (techniques used to steal private information)
  • Application or Tool Vulnerabilities (e.g. Oracle Database,  PDF’s, other attachment types)
  • Cloud Computing (Hosted solutions)
  • Ransomware (stealing your documents or data and holding if for ransom)

This link, as well as the list below, will assist you in protecting yourself from threats and trends like those listed above.

 What Can You Do?

Use the following sound cyber security practices to to help defend against the myriad of challenges and mitigate potential impacts of incidents:

  1. Ensure that you have encryption and password features enabled on your smart phones and other mobile devices. Use strong passwords that combine upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, and do not share them with anyone.
  2. Properly configure and patch operating systems, browsers, and other software programs.
  3. Use and regularly update firewalls and anti-virus/anti-spyware programs.
  4. Be cautious about all communications; think before you click. Use common sense when communicating with users you DO and DO NOT know. Do not open email or related attachments from untrusted sources.
  5. Don't reveal too much information about yourself on social media websites. Depending on the information you reveal, you could become the target of identity or property theft. Be wary of scams, such as fake profiles designed to exploit your trust.
  6. Organizations considering a move to a cloud-based environment should fully research the risks and benefits of cloud computing before moving to that environment. It is critical that your security requirements are addressed in contractual agreements in advance.
  7. Allow access to systems and data only by those who need it; protect those access credentials.
  8. Follow your organization's information security policies (here are Tarleton's). Report violations and issues immediately.