Top 5 Cyber Security Threats

The Top 5 Cyber Security Threats That Could Affect Your Life

By DeVry University

Our electronic devices are such a big part of our lives today that it’s hard to imagine what we once did without them. But our constant use of technology to keep in touch, pay bills, stay on top of the news, shop and research things has a downside: Our data can be exposed to criminals who commit crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud – unless we take the proper precautions. Our growing reliance on electronic devices is part of the reason why careers in cyber security are growing at a faster pace. Jobs in information security, web development and computer network architecture – three fields at the forefront of cyber security – are expected to grow 22% between 2010 and 2020.1 Understanding the threats can help everyone do their part to make those jobs easier. Here are five top cyber security threats and tips on how to protect yourself against them, according to experts.


Malware and Bots

Further, “malware can be spread by your Friends on social networking sites like Facebook,” says, Linda McCarthy, cyber security expert, former senior director of Internet safety at Symantec and author of Own Your Space: Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online. You need to think about that link your Friend is telling you to click on. Is that really a Friend sending that link, or was their account compromised? Don’t click on suspicious links, McCarthy warns. Spreading malware on social networking sites is growing at an alarming rate. “Even though social networking sites have systems in place to minimize the risk, you are still the first line of defense in protecting yourself. It makes sense that malware writers target social networks because you are likely to trust a link that came from one of your friends,” she says.




Hacked Accounts


Unsecured Home Wireless Networks


Data Gone AWOL

But even if devices don’t get lost, it’s possible that in using them we’ll fall prey to cyber criminals while checking emails in an airport lounge using Wi-Fi on a smartphone, or while reading on a tablet over a mocha latte in a café.

“With all of your devices and more to come, be sure to have a backup strategy,” advises McCarthy. Many of the security software packages now include backup as an option. That won’t help with all of the data on every device, so be sure you plan and back up all of your important devices. There’s no telling what types of devices will be part of our lives years from now. The tech explosion presents immense opportunity for those with the creativity and know-how to make the gadgets we use better and better – and to simply keep them running smoothly. In the meantime, building a few smart cyber security habits is a good way for all of us to enjoy the technology we use every day with few hassles.

Advances in technology are not likely to slow down in the future, nor is our increased reliance on the fruits of that growth. New security threats will be a constant reality, which makes it more important than ever that skilled individuals step up to fill the increasing number of jobs available in cyber security, and that those who choose other career paths take steps to protect their own security.

A variety of sources, including Microsoft, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center, Absolute Software and WatchDox, provided the data included in this article.


1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects, on the Internet