Cybersecurity: Keeping Up with the (Tech) Times

There was once a popular notion that if you couldn’t program the clock on your VCR, all you had to do was ask an eight-year-old to do it. Interestingly, an eight-year-old now might ask, “What’s a VCR?” Sure, times have changed and technology has evolved at an incredible pace, but many of us have been left behind and are still wondering how to program that pesky clock.

Unfortunately, the consequences for not understanding your technology these days have grown exponentially. It’s not just a matter of working some new household appliance anymore. Now, it’s a matter of losing control over your personally identifiable information, putting yourself at risk for identity theft, and yes, even putting your physical safety in danger.

The National Cybersecurity Alliance hosts an important month-long series of events each year in October, one that is aimed at raising awareness of the threats and helping the public by offering crucial resources. One of the questions posed during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is this: “Do you know how to protect your personal information as the world of cutting-edge technologies continues to grow?”

New technologies and new conveniences have streamlined nearly every aspect of our daily lives, but they are also a gateway to data breaches and identity theft if we don’t know how to secure them. In some cases, such as the large-scale DDoS attack that occurred last week, even the manufacturers of our technology aren’t aware of the risk until someone uses it for harm. If even the inventor doesn’t know how vulnerable the technology is, how are consumers supposed to protect themselves?

That’s precisely what NCSAM continues to address. By inviting everyone from consumers to business owners to policymakers to join in the ongoing discussion about personal security and data safety, the goal is to help people understand what potential risks there are, not just what dangers have actually been discovered. With any new technology or innovation, we have to ask ourselves where the threat may lie so we can be prepared to prevent it or recover from it.

To that end, NCSAM offers a host of “something for everyone” cybersecurity resources. Whether it’s helping individuals identify possible sources of leaked personal information, offering guidelines for a company to establish a safe-use computer policy, or helping law enforcement and advocates stay ahead of the trends in data breaches, it’s important that all stakeholders work together to ensure that cybersecurity and innovation grow hand in hand.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Check out the ITRC blog to keep you updated and aware of the latest topics and events.

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