The threat landscape is evolving. Protecting your identity and your data should also evolve.
Malicious software and viruses are as prevalent as ever, and that’s why having antivirus software is as important as ever. But the “threat landscape,” as security experts like to call it, is changing. And that means your approach to protecting your identity and your data should also evolve. Antivirus alone may not be enough.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what’s happened over the past couple of decades, as we’ve moved from a PC-centric world of desktop computers to one in which you’re likely to have multiple internet-connected devices across your home. That increased level of connectedness may make life more convenient in many ways, but it also increases your level of vulnerability — unless you take steps to minimize risk.
4 reasons why you need antivirus software and more
A dozen or so years ago, your computer might’ve been your sole source of cyber risk. As a result, antivirus software was a solid solution to help protect yourself. Now, cybercriminals are going after you in other ways. For instance:
1. Viruses and other kinds of malicious software — or malware — are more advanced. Crooks can use ransomware to lock your computer or encrypt your files. They can also commandeer your devices to mine for digital coins, an attack known as cryptojacking.
2. There are now more internet-connected devices than ever before, and criminals have taken note. They’ve designed malware that can attack not only your PC or Mac®, but also your smartphone, tablet, home router, and items you may not even consider at risk, such as a smart thermostat, gaming console, and baby monitor.
In some cases, criminals have harnessed all kinds of so-called Internet of Things (IoT) devices to use their combined processing power to stage cyberattacks. In fact, there was a 600 percent increase in IoT attacks from 2016 to 2017.
3. As you use your mobile devices outside the home, taking advantage of public Wi-Fi networks, cybercriminals can be on those same networks. After all, public Wi-Fi passwords aren’t difficult to come by. And with the right tools, criminals can monitor what you’re doing online, including the forms you’re filling out, and steal your personal information. With that information they can steal your identity.
4. Identity theft can also occur as a result of the many data breaches you see in the news — the number of which is on the rise. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of data breaches in 2017 reached a record high of 1,579, an upturn of 44 percent over 2016.
If cybercriminals put their hands on personal identifying data, such as your full name, address, Social Security number, and other kinds of information, they can use it to open new credit accounts, file for a tax refund, and even obtain medical care — all in your name. As an identity theft victim, it’s up to you to clean up the mess left behind, one that could affect your credit history, your finances, and more.
As you consider the new and evolving ways cybercriminals can put your personal information at risk, you may want to consider additional ways to help protect yourself. Call it cyber safety.
5 aspects of your connected life that need protection
Here are five aspects of your connected life that require protection — in large part because they’re connected in some way to the internet — and options for helping protect them:
1. Computers, be they PCs or Macs
Antivirus software is still an important means of protection. Viruses and malware threats have evolved and increased in number.
Make sure you have security software installed on all of your computers, and keep it updated, so you’ll have protection against the latest, known threats. One option you may want to consider is Norton Security, which provides real-time protection against existing and emerging malware, including ransomware and viruses.
2. Mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets
Security software can also protect devices other than computers. Since malware and other threats also target smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to install protection on all of your mobile devices.
Again, one option to consider is Norton Security, which can help protect your devices — whether iOS or Android — from all kinds of security threats. Install it and keep it updated.
3. Public Wi-Fi connections
If you pay bills, shop, check email, or otherwise share information while on public Wi-Fi networks, you need to be careful. Cybercriminals may be watching your actions and can steal your personal information. You may want to save such activity until you’re back at home. But if it can’t wait, make sure you’re using a virtual private network — or VPN. A VPN encrypts the data you send and receive while on public Wi-Fi or even at home.
Norton Secure VPN is one such solution. It’s a no-log VPN that encrypts your personal information and doesn’t track or store your activity or location. With it, your online activity while on public Wi-Fi is protected from those who might want to “eavesdrop” and capture what sites you’re visiting and information you’re sharing.
4. Your identity
Given how connected most of us are to the internet — through our computers, smartphones, and online accounts — it makes sense that the information that makes up our identities is also connected. Think about how much of your information is “out there,” no longer under your control.
In the event of a data breach involving a company with which you do business, information such as your full name and Social Security number can quickly make its way into the hands of identity thieves. They can then use it to gain access to your financial accounts, hurt your credit history, and more.
Norton Security now includes LifeLock® identity theft protection. LifeLock’s innovative monitoring technology and alert tools help safeguard your credit and finances†. If you become a victim of identity theft, you’ll have a dedicated, U.S.-based restoration specialist to work with you. LifeLock also helps protect you with a Million Dollar Protection™ Package††, which includes personal expense compensation, reimbursement of stolen funds, and coverage for lawyers and experts.
5. Your home Wi-Fi network and connected devices
The ability to adjust your home’s thermostat from your phone or see who’s at the front door on your tablet are just two of the many benefits of having a smart home. Such conveniences will only increase as more connected devices become available. But that connectivity — if not secure — can be risky. It can give hackers more opportunities to access your Wi-Fi network and the information you may share on it.
Clearly, you’re connected in more ways than ever before. A quick glance around your home will confirm it. And as technology continues to evolve, the threats will, too, as criminals adapt.
No one can prevent all identity theft or prevent all cybercrime. †LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. ††Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $25,000 for Standard. And up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts if needed, for all plans. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by United Specialty Insurance Company (State National Insurance Company, Inc. for NY State members). Policy terms, conditions and exclusions at: LifeLock.com/legal.
Cyber threats have evolved, and so have we.
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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc.