Cybersecurity: Can You Protect Your Privacy in the Digital World?

By Tim T. Mercer
cybersecurity

Cybersecurity.

Cyberattacks.

Vulnerabilities.

There are entire companies that have been created for the sole purpose of profiting from people that hear these words on an almost daily basis—in online ads or tv commercials—underlining your openness for an attack, the threat of identity theft, or the imminence of your lost fortune.

They channel slogans that highlight the ease at which they can protect you, leaving you to wonder if you can trust their legitimacy in the first place.

You might wonder—“If it is really that easy, why isn’t it something I can do myself?”

In this article, we will briefly discuss the true impacts that these kinds of threats can carry and attempt to point you in the right direction.

The Real-World Consequences: Should You Be Concerned About  Cybersecurity Threats?

The short answer is yes.

Cyber threats are real, and they do matter.

That isn’t to say that there is nothing anyone can do to stop them, or, more importantly, protect you from them. However, before we dive deeper into that, let’s take a look at what cybersecurity really is.

In layman’s terms, cybersecurity is the simple act of protecting, or encrypting, any information that is stored online.

At a personal level, this can include important passwords or banking and personal finance information, as well as photographs, videos, and other media on the cloud.

At a more industrial level, this can refer to any device using Wi-Fi, new cars, or, as has been seen more recently, utility companies.

Hacking can occur in many different forms, ranging from someone stealing the password to a web subscription you stopped using years ago to remotely accessing and manipulating the regulated settings scrutinized by power and water companies—perhaps resulting in large-scale outages or poisoning water supplies.

Should You Take Immediate Action?

Given that essentially every modern system is potentially vulnerable to a cyberattack at any given time, your first thought might be to go withdraw your savings from the bank and slide the cash into a freshly-minted hole in your mattress.

Some people wouldn’t blame you for doing so. But the world is only getting more digital, and if you want to grow with the rest of society, you probably shouldn’t speed away just yet.

What Can You Do?

In your own, personal life, there are services that you can take advantage of to protect yourself from a seriously detrimental, and very costly, cyberattack, like identity theft—a kind of insurance if you will.

These companies will monitor your online information and, with the help of a dedicated team of hacking experts of their own, can protect your data.

The industrial level is a little different, though. Without the support of local and community leaders, cybersecurity will not be taken seriously. Many utility companies, for example, rely on outdated software, encryption protocols, and mechanical safety switches to watch their backs.

“These methods have protected us so far,” a politician may argue, but look around. Even in the media, there’s an ever-growing inundation of video games and TV shows, particularly those that promote hacking and the power that comes with it.

With every passing day, is it only a matter of time?