The Ping: What is Cybersecurity?

Within the IT community the term Cybersecurity is often thrown around with little to no explanation. Cybersecurity can be defined as “the protection of computer systems from theft or damage to their hardware, software or electronic data, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.” – Wikipedia. Cybersecurity attacks can affect both people and businesses alike. To get a better understanding, let’s discuss some different approaches to cyber threats. What you can do to help prevent yourself from falling victim to these types of attack?


Social Engineering

Social engineering is a tactic of obtaining personal information, such as credit card numbers and passwords, from an individual. A common way social engineering tactic is to use Phishing scams. Phishing scams are emails sent from what is believed to be a trustworthy email asking for you to send them personal information.

The first step in countering these types of attacks is to be weary of emails you receive asking for personal information. If you aren’t expecting an email from a particular person, ask them directly if they sent the email to you. Additionally, hover over any links that are included in the email to see if it directs you to the site it claims to be linking you to.


Another very common cyber threat is malware. Malware is malicious software that is used to harm or disable a computer system.  Malware attacks can range from an annoying slue of random pop ups to a far more malicious hijacking of your PC. This can require you to call a company giving your credit card information, possibly paying upwards of hundreds of dollars, just to regain access to your own personal information.

Countering these type of attacks starts with being proactive with an effective cybersecurity suite.  I know, literally everyone and their relative makes some sort of antivirus and antispyware software package.  In this case, we would recommend some protection may be better than no protection.

Common steps to help proactively prevent Cybersecurity attacks

Keeping Windows Updates current.  Some updates may be improvements in performance or enhancement updates, but many updates released from Microsoft are actually critical security updates intended to prevent intrusive attacks towards discovered exploits.

Using current software versions is another way to prevent attacks.  Everything has a projected End of Life.  To prevent unnecessary entry points of attack, ensure you are budgeting and keeping your software up to date prior to its EOL.  A perfect example is Windows 7’s upcoming EOL in January of 2020.  Speaking of End of Life, Windows EOL’s for Windows 8 is January 10, 2023.  Windows 10 is slated for October 14, 2025.  Just in case you were wondering.


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