Houston expert shares tips for navigating cybersecurity challenges amid the holiday season
It’s a grinch’s cyber playground, and this holiday season you’re at risk—even if you think it won’t happen to you.
The good news is that you can protect yourself from fraud and scams. Just remember that cybercriminals don’t discriminate, they can prey on anyone.
These statistics may surprise you:
- Anxiety about having a mobile device hacked varies by demographic; low-income black women rank mobile security as their top concern, while the general population ranks mobile security as their third biggest concern, according to a recent Recon Analytics survey of more than 3,297 US consumers.
- 44 percent of millennials have been victims of cybercrime in the past year and 31 percent admit to sharing their passwords with others.
- Romance scams resulted in the most financial losses for adults over 60
- Younger consumers took the least action after being notified of a data breach affecting their identity/online account in Q1 2022
- Almost 50 percent of American players have experienced a cyberattack on their gaming account or device
- 47 percent of urban women say their identities and/or data have been compromised in the past 6 months due to a lack of Internet protection at home, compared to 53 percent of urban men who say the same, according to a recent Recon Analytics survey .
People everywhere, regardless of gender, race, income level, education or age, deserve to feel safe online. And yet many are unaware of how to protect themselves, don’t make it a priority, or wait to act until they are alerted to suspicious activity.
With words like malware, phishing, spoofing, and encryption, learning how to protect yourself can feel like a college-level course. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Top 5 ways to protect yourself from cyber threats
By following five simple steps, you can start protecting your network, devices and data from many digital threats.
- Understand that cyber attacks are real. One of the first hacks was documented in 1963, and today, almost 60 years later, hackers attack phones and computers every 39 seconds. Cyber attacks continue to increase in number every year.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for an attack to happen. Monitor your accounts daily so you’ll be the first to know if suspicious activity occurs. Check with your wireless carrier to see if they have tools to help. AT&T customers can download the free mobile security app ActiveArmor to block spam calls and secure their personal data. And ask your internet provider about extra layers of security available to you at home. AT&T Fiber customers can access AT&T ActiveArmor internet security features at no additional cost to them.
- Increase your mobile security. Mobile devices now account for more than 60 percent of digital fraud. Mobile banking, online shopping, streaming videos and storing documents make our phones a central location for sensitive information. Your wireless carrier may be able to help. AT&T offers advanced security like public Wi-Fi protection, identity monitoring, and secure browsing at no extra cost with any of our plans. Check with your carrier to make sure they are doing what they can to keep you safe.
- Protect your passwords. We all know it is necessary, but not all of us take steps to do it. 68 percent of people admit to using the same password across multiple logins. Using a strong password that differs from site to site will help reduce your chances of being hacked. If you struggle with passwords, you should consider getting a password manager.
- Report suspicious text messages. As mobile operators have more success blocking illegal robocalls, scammers have turned to text messages. But now it’s easier than ever to report spam texts to block and control them. The latest iOS and Android operating systems have a simple reporting feature in their Apple and Google messaging apps.
Take some time to protect your information this holiday season. For more cybersecurity resources (regardless of carrier), visit att.com/CyberAware. If you or someone you know is new to computers or mobile devices, click here for more information on our free digital literacy courses.
Luis Silva is vice president and general manager of AT&T.