In 2014, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received over 250,000 complaints of cybercrime. In total, the individuals making these complaints reported over 800 million dollars in losses.1
When you think of cybercrime, you may envision someone stealing your credit card number. However, there are other forms of cyber risk, including clicking on an unknown link: today, the average person—with good intentions—can accidentally download malware that harms his or her computer.
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4 Common Cyber Risks for Individuals and Families
- Identity theft: The cybercriminal steals another person’s personal information in order to access money or credit.
Did you know: Young adults make nearly 1/3 of identity theft complaints.2
- Phishing: The cybercriminal tricks an email user into revealing personal information that the cybercriminal can use unlawfully.
Did you know: These attacks can look like personalized emails that include links or attachments.
- Cyber Bullying: Posting damaging messages about another person online. Cyber bullies often post anonymously to avoid responsibility.
Did you know: Damaging messages can go viral, causing serious harm to the victim’s reputation and well-being.
- Cyber Predators: These criminals search the internet for other people in order to manipulate, control, or hurt them.
Did you know: Cyber predators regularly target young adults. It’s not only children and teenagers who are at risk.3
There are many ways you can reduce the risk of a cyberattack. To help protect yourself and your personal devices, consider these 7 cybersecurity actions:
7 Tips to Increase Your Personal Cybersecurity
- Set up strong, unique passwords for all of your devices and accounts.
- Password protect your Wi-Fi.
- Read emails and information online with a healthy dose of caution: if a deal or offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Install an anti-virus/anti-malware security suite from a reputable company.
- Make sure to regularly update your software and operating systems.
- Limit how much personal information you share online.
- Use a file scrubber to remove your files before you sell or recycle your old devices.
Smart parents share cybersecurity strategies with their children to keep the whole family safe online. You can help to protect your kids from cyber risks by taking these 5 steps:
5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Kids Safer Online
- Place a dedicated computer for your kids to use in an open area of your house.
- Filter and monitor your children’s online activities as you see fit. Parental controls can help you maintain a presence in your child’s online life.
- Create technology rules and post them where they’re visible. Modify these rules as your kids mature to reflect their changing online lives.
- Cultivate an interest in your kids’ online activities. Don’t be afraid to ask your children who they are talking to online and what they’re talking about.
- Model safe behavior when using technology. You can show your kids how to use technology safely.
To learn more about protecting yourself against cyber risks today and tomorrow, read our tip sheet below.
1 2014 Internet Crime Report, Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center, 2014, p. 8.
2 Stop Think Connect Resource Guide, (download as PDF), Department of Homeland Security, 2014.
3 Stop. Think. Connect. Brochure, (download as PDF), Department of Homeland Security, 2014.
The content contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only. Companies and individuals should not solely rely on the information or suggestions provided in this article for the prevention or mitigation of the risks discussed herein.