This October marks the 11th anniversary of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM has helped to educate online consumers and businesses about cybersecurity issues and the best practices for avoiding them.
As a growing number of consumers turn to online shopping as their primary means of doing business, the number of cybercrimes – and the financial impact of those crimes – continues to rise; and the numbers are staggering.
According to the website Statista, the number of digital shoppers in the United States rose to 191.1 million with another 5.5 million joining their ranks by the close of 2014.
Another article on the same site stated that as of 2012, internet sales generated an estimated 593.16 billion dollars of revenue.
The US Government, in its 2013 IC3 Report, cites 262,813 complaints of cybercrime, with total combined financial losses of over 781 million dollars.
Clearly, the Internet commerce financial pie is a large one; and everyone seems to be looking for a piece of it.
As technology continues to advance, so do the tactics of those seeking to gain your personal information. The National Cyber Security Alliance, on its StaySafeOnline.org website suggests observing the following practices in order to ensure your personal – and financial – safety while online:
• Keep a Clean Machine: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
• When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
• Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
• Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them. (Tips and Advice)
Those wishing to know more about NCSAM and suggested best practices can check out StaySafeOnline.org for further details.
If you have any questions, or believe that your computer has been compromised, please contact the TSC at x2920 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center. (2013). Retrieved from 2013 Internet Crime Report: http://www.ic3.gov/media/annualreport/2013_ic3report.pdf
Number of US Internet Shoppers Since 2009. (2014). Retrieved from Statista: http://www.statista.com/statistics/183755/number-of-us-internet-shoppers-since-2009/
Tips and Advice. (n.d.). Retrieved from StaySafeOnline.org: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/tips-and-advice
US-b2c-e-commerce-volume-since-2006. (2014). Retrieved from Statista: http://www.statista.com/statistics/239372/us-b2c-e-commerce-volume-since-2006/