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Are You Cyber Aware?


How would you rate your cybersecurity awareness? Have you been the victim of a major data breach? Do you feel confident in your ability to protect your personal information? Do you know which tools are available to help you protect your privacy?

These are the sorts of questions we need to ask ourselves more often these days, and the same questions Pew Research Center has been asking Americans. As it turns out, a minimum of 64% of Americans have personally experienced a significant data breach, and almost half of all Americans (49%) feel their information is less secure than it was just five years ago. Jim Hood, reporting for Consumer Affairs, has an excellent overview of the newest Pew study.

The bottom line: We face real risks, but we also have a responsibility to raise our cybersecurity awareness and use the many resources at our disposal to protect our data.

Cybersecurity Awareness for Business

The need for heightened cybersecurity awareness goes beyond the individual. Companies also have a duty to up their cybersecurity efforts and may reap substantial benefits as a result. So how’s cybersecurity awareness doing in the business space?

PwC’s “The Global State of Information Security® Survey 2017” presents findings from over 10,000 business and IT executives as to “what they are doing—and plan to do in the future—to protect digital assets and create business advantages.” The current report reveals four major trends:

· Adoption of new safeguards for digital business models

· Implementation of business-critical threat intelligence and information-sharing programs

· Securing the potential of the Internet of Things

· Taking a proactive approach to managing geopolitical threats

The cloud-based approach to data storage and security is paramount to these efforts. As Christopher O’Hara, PwC US Co-Leader, Cybersecurity and Privacy says,

“We’re seeing rapid uptake of the cloud model because of its cost advantages, the compute and scalability that it provides—and the ability to rapidly and flexibly adjust computing capabilities.” Furthermore: “We believe cloud-based cybersecurity will evolve to the point where you can realistically take any type of threat data and process it, normalize it and understand its impact to your business in real time. Today’s on-premise solutions simply can’t do that.”

If you have anxieties about how businesses you rely on store, manage, and share your data, you should consider reading the report to elevate your own understanding of both the threats and opportunities. You, too, can proactive about your cybersecurity.

Resources for Turning Your CyberAwareness into CyberAction

If your heightened awareness of digital threats leaves you feeling overwhelmed, don’t despair. Direct action is a superb cure for a feeling of helplessness. Here are a few suggestions:

· Fight the privacy paradox – that we are aware of privacy threats, but do nothing to thwart them – by checking out the Privacy Paradox Project from WNYC’s Note to Self podcast, beginning on February 6th.

· Peruse the “DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity.” This excellent resource by Noah Kelley for the activist organization HACK*BLOSSOM covers a wide range of topics from casual security to advanced anonymity.

Finally, do what you can to improve your digital literacy in 2017. Now more than ever we need to defend our human right to privacy.

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