Engaging in Safe Internet Practices
As a data-driven organization, SABIS® relies on information to monitor student progress and ensure that learning is taking place. In taking steps to ensure the safety and integrity of all the data generated in the network, SABIS® is extremely careful, implementing the latest security and redundancy measures and actively training all employees. As a result of extensive research into Internet use and security, SABIS® IT professionals have become experts in the history of cybercrime and the precautionary steps anyone can take to keep from becoming a victim, and we are pleased to share a bit about the topic.
History of Cybercrime
Cybercrime emerged on the scene nearly 50 years ago, when students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Massachusetts, U.S., coined the term “hack” to describe their efforts to improve the speed and performance of the computer hardware and software. During this time, people were “hacking” to learn more about technology and look for ways to help technology work more efficiently.
Hacking took on a less productive bent in the 1980s, when individuals realized that they could use hacking to access highly classified information. The result was the passage of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, which made hacking a crime in the U.S. And from there things went downhill. By the early 1990s, hackers were no longer after satisfying their curiosity; their motivation was money. Spammers were making millions of dollars by promoting products through spam E-mails and hackers were stealing personal information and selling their services. In 2000, nations began to invest in state-sponsored hackers for the development of espionage through malware, which is a hostile or intrusive software used to steal valuable information for geo-political or economic reasons.
Today, people are confronted with hackers and the dark side of the Internet on a regular basis – phishing scams, ransomware, social engineering, online identity theft, and password exploitation. Once hackers are able to break into a private E-mail, social media, or any other online accounts, their access to personal data and information is limitless.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The highest rated risk factor for falling a victim to cybercrime is human error, so in order to protect yourself from hackers, it is of utmost importance to practice safe online activity to ensure your own security as well as that of your families, friends, colleagues, and companies.
The simplest thing you can do to protect yourself is to be smart in choosing your password. For example, an all lowercase, 5-character password can be cracked in 300 microseconds; a 10-character, lowercase password can still be cracked in just 59 minutes; but a 12-character password with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols can take up to 34 thousand years to crack.
You can also train yourself to recognize phishing E-mails masquerading as legitimate ones. To do so, look carefully at the sender’s E-mail address. It may look like it comes from someone you know, but if you hover on the name of the sender, an unfamiliar E-mail address appears. If this happens, do not open the E-mail. Other telling signs of a phishing E-mail include grammatical errors, an intimidating way of addressing the recipient, or suspicious attachments. If any of these things are present, even if it looks like it comes from a friend, do not click on it. Instead, E-mail your friend and ask if he/she sent you an E-mail.
By maintaining secure passwords, being familiar with the telltale signs of phishing scams, and knowing a bit about the history of cybercrime, you can enjoy the Internet safely and without fear. Remember that awareness and a smart password are the keys to keeping safe on the Internet.