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 you can protect yourself from scams and fraud. Just remember that cybercriminals don’t discriminate, they can prey on anyone.
These statistics may surprise you:
- Anxiety about having a mobile device hacked differs by demographic; low-income Black women rank mobile security as their number one concern, while the general population ranks mobile security as their third largest concern, according to a recent Recon Analytics survey of more than 3,297 U.S. consumers.
- 44 percent of millennials have been victims of online crime in the last year and 31 percent admit they share their passwords with others.
- Romance scams resulted in the most financial losses for adults aged 60 and over
- Younger consumers took fewest actions after being notified of a data breach affecting their identity/online accounts in Q1 2022
- Nearly 50 percent of American gamers have experienced a cyberattack on their gaming account or device
- 47 percent of women who live in cities say their identities and/or data has been compromised in the past 6 months due to lack of home internet protections, compared with 53 percent of city men who say the same thing, 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 aren’t aware 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 to protect yourself can feel like a college-level course. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Top 5 ways to guard against cyberthreats
By following five simple steps, you can start to protect your network, devices and data from many digital threats.
- Understand cyberattacks are real. One of the first hacks was documented in 1963 and today, nearly 60 years later, hackers are attacking phones and computers every 39 seconds. Cyberattacks continue to grow in number every year.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for an attack to happen. Monitor your accounts daily so you are the first to know if suspicious activity is occurring. Check with your wireless carrier to see if they have tools to help. AT&T customers can download the free ActiveArmor mobile security app to help 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.
- Step up 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 Safe Browsing for no extra charge with some of our plans. Check with your carrier to make sure they’re doing what they can to keep you safe.
- Protect your passwords. We all know it’s 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 decrease your chances of being hacked. If you struggle with passwords, 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 help block and control them. The latest iOS and Android operating systems have a simple reporting feature in their Apple and Google messaging apps.
Luis Silva is vice president and general manager at AT&T.