From smartphones to wearables, the internet is finding more ways to play a central role in our lives, and it can host both friend and foe. What goes without question is that one can’t be too safe online. Because the average individual is not able to spot most online threats and scams, users are grouping together for large-scale protection, in what is known as called crowdsourced security. Threats are becoming more diverse, specifically designed to trick technology into letting malicious software onto your computer, and crowdsourced security is the number one way to protect yourself and your device.
Who’s After Your Information & Why
Across the industry, there is consensus that online attacks will continue to get more sophisticated in 2016. Without trying to scare you, the answer to “Who would want my information?” is, pretty much everyone. According to the FBI, predators, hackers, business competitors and foreign state actors all could have an interest in getting your personal information, for a variety of purposes. It could be used to impersonate you in order to make purchases, gain personal information from your acquaintances, or infect more devices to engineer a more sophisticated attack.
3 Places Users Are Most Vulnerable
Like water, attacks will flow to the area of least resistance. Keep the following in mind as you browse, post and shop the following:
1. Social media: Any information posted to a social media site is no longer private – the more you post, the more vulnerable you are. With at least 28% of our online time spent on social media, you should keep this in mind before posting.
2. Wearables/Internet of Things: With new technologies connected to the internet, from light bulbs, thermostats, and refrigerators to wearable technologies, there is just too much out there for antivirus software to monitor and keep safe – and hackers know this. We expect to see large-scale exploitations of weaknesses in these systems in 2016.
3. Mobile Devices: The number of mobile devices surpassed the world human population back in 2014. Some of their top vulnerabilities include insecure Wi-Fi connections, spoof networks and spyware – risky for devices with a high degree of personal information stored on them. Historically, hackers have largely focused on desktops, but that is changing in 2016.
What You Can Do
There is no one-size-fits-all product that can protect you and your devices in the long term; that would be too easy to work around. The best defense you can have is a multi-layered approach. Rather than relying solely on technology for protection, the truly multi-layered solution must include crowdsourced security. When you see an online threat on a site, you can mark it untrustworthy for yourself and others who come after you. To make the web a safer place for all, it is highly recommended that you join a crowdsourced security community to both share your experience and benefit from the expertise of others.