SUDDENLY IT'S ALL ABOUT SECURITY! PART TWO
Low Risk (right now*)
So what do you really need to be concerned about? First you need to remember that security precautions are only good when they are used. If you have a home security system installed but do not activate it when you leave the house, you are negating any benefits of having the system in the first place. So let's start with taking a good look at what you need to be concerned about and how to protect yourself.
DDoS attacks are typically directed at large companies - think Amazon, eBay, Twitter, Facebook, etc. - so not directly targeting average users. They are not looking for data but rather to interrupt the website itself. BUT - if you use any cloud-based service such as Gmail/Google, iCloud, Yahoo, etc., you may not be able to access your data for a time should a DDoS attack be directed at any of the sites you use.
*Be sure to have a hardcopy of any critical data.*
Ransomware has been becoming more prevalent on PCs over the last few years but it was only in March of 2016 that ransomware was able to affect a Mac. The best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to make regular backups of your important data
AND keep them separate from your computer (to prevent the malware from trying to meddle with your backups too). To truly do this effectively, it requires either an off site backup via a Cloud service such as Backblaze or a separate backup that you run regularly and then store somewhere such as a safe deposit box. This would be in addition to your local backup!! You can read more in my article from last June.
Internet of Things refers to 'smart devices' that connect to your Internet or create their own networks and encompasses everything from thermostats, lights, security systems, printers and even cars and baby monitors. First you need to know that these type of devices are presenting a whole new area of vulnerability that is not so easy to understand or protect. Consumer Reports has an excellent article on the topic. We are mostly dependent on manufacturers stepping up and securing their devices and/or giving users a way to do so. In the meantime IF you have any device of this type, be sure to frequently change the default password for controlling the device (if you can) and turn off any unneeded features.
*Something that is low risk right now can change in a moment. Security is an always morphing/moving target and proactive is much better than reactive. Next week I will talk about Moderate and High Risk concerns.