Get Gephardt: Protecting yourself from cybercriminals with digital hygiene

Jan 9, 2023, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The attacks launched by cybercriminals against internet users in the United States are so frequent and relentless that the odds are strong that you have been a victim without even realizing it, according to new research shared with the KSL Investigators.

NordVPN said it has found Americans suffer 1.03 billion attacks each year. That works out to be 33 attacks every second – a stat that’s not at all surprising to NordVPN cybersecurity advisor and spokesman Adrianus Warmenhoven.

But he is troubled because it doesn’t take much to be a hacker.

“People without any skills can be into cybercrime,” he warned. “You just buy access to a thousand machines. You have to have no skill at all.”

Security breaches have become so common that you may not realize hackers are to blame. Has it happened to you?

That popup ad you found unbelievably hard to close? That’s the likely hacker handicraft. And that time you were browsing, and a website just spontaneously opened without any action from you? Yep, cybercrooks.

Then, there are the hacks most never notice: a bad guy trolling for personal data in your emails or gaining access to your webcam.

“I do not have the illusion that I can protect myself 100%,” said Warmenhoven about the prevalence of cybercrime.

He said with hacks becoming so ubiquitous, and it is time for our digital hygiene to become ubiquitous.

Just as you would wash your hands and brush your teeth to keep the germs at bay, you should make it a habit to scrub your digital persona.

Change passwords often. Delete your credit and debit card numbers from websites. Delete the dusty accounts on websites you no longer use.

“Plan it in your calendar,” Warmenhoven advised. “Your calendar is actually your strongest weapon in this. Just make it a normal habit, just like taking out the trash. And everything else you do for your normal hygiene.”

Despite all the changes the internet has seen over the past nearly three decades, the number one way bad guys get into online accounts remains the same – from people reusing their passwords and many different websites.

If you are using the same passwords for your social media accounts that you use for your bank or any other website, you are putting yourself in the crosshairs of a cybercriminal.

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Get Gephardt: Protecting yourself from cybercriminals with digital hygiene