We all rely on technology in one form or another to make our personal and professional lives easier. However, the more we use technology is the more we open up our lives to threats, which often come in the form of stealing and misusing our personal information. From data breaches at big banks to viruses making their way onto our laptops, cyber threats are becoming not just more prevalent, but more dangerous. So, here are just a few reasons why we desperately need better cybersecurity.
In a perfect world, those in charge would be proactive and fix problems in technology before they occur or progress to dangerous stages. As we do not live in a perfect world, one tell-tale sign of a problem in desperate need of being fixed is how prevalent and widespread it is. Cybercrime is now the second most reported crime all around the world — from Latin America to the United States to New Zealand. PwC, the world’s second-largest firm specializing in professional services, estimates that cybercrime affects 31 percent of companies.
Often, it’s just the big companies that make the news. But, just as important are the incidents of identity theft, credit card fraud, and other cybercrime tactics that affect unsuspecting people on an individual level.
Despite how prevalent cybercrime has now become, how do you view a company after a security breach? Do you have the same level of trust in that organization? What about its competence to protect your information? When your dentist, your bank, or your employer asks for your personal information, are you now more paranoid about handing it over? Chances are, the answer is yes.
Technology breaches not only affect how we do business, but how much of it we do over time, especially on the internet. While this is great for our bank accounts, it is bad for the economy. Commerce keeps economies growing; hoarding our savings does not.
In addition to affecting business and commerce on a macroeconomic level by arousing paranoia, cybercrime itself costs individuals and organizations billions of dollars each year. According to CNBC, cybercrime racked up a bill of $600 billion around the world in 2017. To put this into better perspective, this is almost 1% of the world’s GDP. In 2014, it cost the world $445 billion. Even worse, estimates published on Forbes project that cybercrime may cost the world as much as $6 trillion annually by the year 2021.
Workers are usually trained on how to protect confidential information, yet they write passwords down, leave computers unlocked at lunch, and occasionally share credentials — all of which puts security systems at risk. So, imagine the risk when you first introduce your six-year-old to technology with a tablet for school, or when you buy your grandmother a smartphone to help her stay in touch.
It’s not easy to teach these groups how to secure their devices. This makes it easy for cyber criminals to get their hands on their information and your own, by barely lifting a finger.
This brings us to the next point, as experts in technology and cybersecurity have discovered that cyberattacks are now automated. In the past, we often envisioned a hacker hiding out in a dark basement, coding away in front of multiple computers and screens. However, a hacker with very little programming experience can now simply use premade software.
Then, little bots do all the dirty work for him, while he grabs milk from the store, meets his friends for pizza, or sees his favorite band live. The thought that anyone could so effortlessly steal our information is terrifying.
Almost all companies need some level of access to your personal information for commerce. A company may need to run your credit card for a purchase, check your ID before you buy a glass of wine, or add your SSN before you can monetize your awesome travel blog. Because of this, it’s virtually impossible to protect your information on your own, especially when technology makes up such a big part of our lives. And, as a result, we desperately need better cybersecurity methods, policies and training, to keep our information, our finances and our families, safe.