Emerging Threats

Cyber security top tips for 2016

Authored by a Symantec employee


2015 was a banner year for cybercriminals. We reported on 53 events that made it into the headlines, however that was just what we reported. There were many more than that occurred.

We took a look at what was trending to try to predict the next “big things” in cyber security to be on the lookout for in 2016.

1. Ransomware:

Ransomware is the big topic this year. The first noticeable case of ransomware popped up in 2013, and hackers have latched on to this tactic, refining it over the years. In 2015 we reported on six major ransomware campaigns, which ranged from Mac to Android. Since ransomware can technically be performed on all device platforms, we expect to see a surge in these campaigns. Whatever happens, do NOT pay the ransom, and be sure to keep regular backups to help defend against these attacks.

2. Fake Support Scams:

We saw increasing reports about tech support scams. Scammers use social engineering tactics in order to try to trick you into downloading malware onto your computer. They can come via a phone call from someone who claims to be from a tech support company stating that they have found a problem on your computer. Internet pop-up ads can also be a source of this scam. They usually display a message stating that the computer is infected and offer a phone number for help with removing the malware. Often, these pop-ups will look like they come from a legitimate source, such as our own Norton products. Just remember, anyone contacting you asking you for money or access to your computer is a red flag.

You can also get support right through the product itself in three easy steps! All you have to do is:

Open your copy of Norton, and click ‘Help’, which will open up the Help Center. Then click the first option under ‘I need help using this product’ and that will take you straight to our official support page.

Always know that Norton will never call you asking for anything. If you ever need to get support from us, we’re right at your fingertips in four ways: contacting us directly by phone or chat, or contact us via Twitter or Facebook.

3. Data Breaches:

Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming almost as common as malware outbreaks. We reported on 16 events, from large institutions to small. And this isn’t just credit card fraud. Big data is big money for attackers, so they set their sights on companies that tend to hold large amounts of personally identifiable data on their customers, such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses and even medical records.  It’s easy for a cybercrime victim to report credit card fraud and just get a new number. When it comes to Social Security numbers, you are bound to it for life. And Social Security numbers open the door to all sorts of identity theft. You can click here to learn more about what you need to know about data breaches.

4. Your Norton Moves With You:

Once you’re ready on your new device, all you need to do is visit our product download page, sign into your Norton account and just download your Norton to your new device. Are you thinking of getting a new operating system like Windows 10? Getting a new device isn’t the only instance where your Norton moves with you. Ensure you have the latest version of your Norton product to make sure Norton stays on your PC when upgrading the operating system and you’re good to go!

5. Software Vulnerabilities and Software Updates:

Major software vulnerabilities hit big in 2015. Attackers heavily rely upon these vulnerabilities, as it is the easiest way to sneak malware into a user’s device unnoticed, with little action on the user’s part. The best way to combat against these attacks is to perform any and all software updates as soon as they are available. Software updates perform a myriad of tasks to the program they are updating, such as patching those security holes attackers exploit, add new features and improve bug fixes. Recently, Microsoft announced their ending of support for Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9 and 10. Ending support means the end of software updates, so it is likely that many users may be migrating to the new Windows 10 for access to the new Edge browser.

6. Windows 10 and Migration:

In addition to these hot topics, another one that was of noticeable interest was the Windows 10 release. In 2015, Microsoft offered up its operating system for free for the first time, either for old devices or installing them on new ones. Migration is not as easy as it sounds, but we have outlined steps in order to make the transition a breeze for you.

We’re here for you, wherever and whenever you need us.

Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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