Cybersecurity: Be aware in the age of technology

How do you stay safe in the new technological era? Do you cover your laptop camera with a little piece of black tape just to make sure the government is not “watching you?” Maybe you refuse to turn on the fingerprint or facial recognition setting on your phone. While these acts may make you feel more secure in technological endeavors, such as googling or playing games, actual cybersecurity is a little more complex than that.


It is close to impossible in the modern era to avoid the use of computers and the internet, and those who are at risk of having poor cybersecurity are open to an attacker putting dangerous malware on their computer, having their information stolen or their files altered. While there is no surefire way to guarantee that you will not be attacked, there are plenty of measures you can take in order to protect yourself in the best way possible.


According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, the first step to protecting yourself against cyberattacks is to recognize the risks and familiarize yourself with the three major pieces of terminology associated with them. The first of which are hackers, also known as attackers or intruders. These are groups of people who are seeking to exploit weaknesses in computer systems, normally for the intention of use. The next piece to know is malicious code or malware, which is a broad term defining any piece of computer code used to attack a computer. The final term is vulnerabilities, which are any type of weaknesses in a computer system itself that allows a hacker to access the system.  


With the problem of cybersecurity becoming more prevalent as technology progresses, governmental institutions around the world are stepping in to protect their people. In 2018, President Trump signed into law the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, or CISA, which focuses on combating cybercrime, as well as protecting government websites and federal networks. The United Kingdom has the National Cyber Security Centre, which responds to cyberattacks by helping to minimize damage and helps in the recovery and the prevention of further attacks. Even the United Nations has an office dedicated to the protection of computer systems through cybersecurity, The Office of Information and Communications Technology, which works to implement effective security measures and proactively has individuals and organizations report discovered security issues and vulnerabilities. 


With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, NSU is holding a cybersecurity event on Oct. 30. The event will feature the CEO of 24By7Security, Inc. and present information about preventing cyberattacks. Those interested in learning more about cybersecurity can register for the event on Handshake. 


Personally, I used an Apple Mac as my computer and an Apple iPhone as my smartphone device, which is extremely difficult to be hacked or have information leaked. If you do not own an Apple product, another great preventative measure you can take is installing digital security or antivirus products, such as Norton or McAfee. Protection against attacks may seem tough, but the more you know about the topic, the more prepared you will be to deal with any sketchy attempts at cyber attacks online. Stay aware and be safe in this new and advancing technological age. 

Photo: NASA

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