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This month is Cyber Security Awareness Month. This is an internationally recognized campaign focused on helping us all be more secure online. So naturally, this edition is all about cyber security.
With the ever-growing use of the internet, the importance of cyber security has never been higher:
- 1,946,181,599 records containing personal and sensitive data were compromised between January 1st, 2017 and March 20th, 2018
- 71% of businesses have reported some sort of data breach
- a single data breach will cost the average company about $3.8 million
- 81% of data breaches are due to weak passwords and Microsoft claims the most common forms of attacks still begin with simple phishing emails
The Big Three
Rarely a week passes without news of some data breach that occurred. Just last weekend Facebook announced a data breach and you may recall these massive data breaches:
- 2013 – Yahoo: 3 billion user accounts were subjected to a data breach. This information came to light while Yahoo was in negotiations to sell itself to Verizon and this incident ended up knocking $350 million off the sale price.
- 2014 – eBay: 145 million users were impacted in this breach after hackers had access to the company’s network for 229 days
- 2017 – Equifax: impacted over 148 million customers and cost the company more than $275 million making it the most costly hack to date
The Future of Cyber Security
The cyber security industry is in great need of experts. The private, public and governmental sectors are all investing heavily in attracting and retaining cyber security talent; the proof is in the numbers:
- The demand for cyber talent in Canada is increasing by 7% annually
- Unfilled cyber security jobs are expected to reach 5 million by 2021 — compared to about 1 million in 2016.
- $101.6 billion is what organizations plan to spend on cybersecurity in 2020 alone
- Carleton University offers 7 Computer Science program options, including a Computer and Internet Security program
Cyber Security: Our Shared Responsibility
We all have a shared responsibility when it comes to protecting our devices, networks, and data. Here are some simple things you can do:
- Protect your accounts with strong authentication. Create a strong password (try using pass phrases as opposed to words), have separate passwords for every account, and use two-factor authentication wherever possible.
- Beware the phish: Beware of emails that ask for your password, have a call for immediate action, or offer something that sounds too good to be true.
- Back it up: Protect your work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.