The Danger is in the Click
You are the weakest link when it comes to your security on the Internet. Cyber criminals worldwide know this and exploit the human inclination of clicking first and thinking later. Phishing and ransomware attacks are on the rise, but an army of cyber security experts cannot help you if you keep clicking indiscriminately. Learning to discern the differences between fraudulent and legitimate material is the key to operating safely on the Internet.
Most Cybersecurity Training is Ineffective
The computer security industry knows that people are the weak link, but they have yet to effectively address the human aspect of cyber security. Sure, cyber security courses abound, but many are not particularly effective. Most people treat security awareness training as a chore on a checklist. I’ve personally sat through training courses where everyone was barely paying attention. Online courses can be even worse. I admit, I have just put in one headphone, minimized the window with the class running, and tried to do something more productive. Not a great idea for something as important as your online security. I certainly know better, but most people either don’t understand the risk, choose to ignore it, or think it’s being handled by their software.
Anti-virus Software Won’t Save You
Anti-virus software companies want you to think they have your security handled. But your firewalls and spam filters can’t always save you - They are reactionary. Anti-virus or spam filters detect threats that have already done harm. There is always a lag between when the tech will protect you and when the threat is active. Corporations have teams of people to manage their security and stay ahead of threats, but individuals and small businesses do not. Criminals know this and they target you. They trick you into clicking.
Don’t Get Tricked into Clicking
The good news is that you can help yourself. Ninety-nine percent of Internet fraud requires you to interact with it - in other words, The Danger is in the Click. Yet people do not know what to look for and they keep clicking. A little knowledge can vastly increase your ability to protect yourself and your employer. Here is what I know from identifying more than 10,000 fraudulent websites - Understanding the basics of a URL address is key and simple (I taught my grandmother how to do it). There are easily discernible hints in a URL that will help you to know if something is legitimate or suspicious. Check out my post on simple strategies to increase your confidence when confronted with a suspicious link. If you’re still not sure if a link or email is safe, do not click on it and then have an expert check it out.
Before founding SafeKlix LLC, Colin Moyer worked as a threat intelligence analyst serving Fortune 50 companies. He has identified more than 10,000 fraudulent websites and removed more than 1,500 from the Internet.