What I learned from Norton

Recently, Norton by Symantec released its 2013 Norton Report findings (formerly known as the Norton Cybercrime Report). Norton has been doing this for four years now to spread awareness on the issue of cybercrime. I find this report very interesting and valuable as I was a cybercrime victim myself once before. 

Once upon a time, my Yahoo mail was hacked. I was sent an email by "Yahoo" saying that they are in the process of deleting inactive email accounts and it asked that I send in my username and password to verify that I am an active user. Out of my own naivety, I responded to the email because I actually thought it was an official email from Yahoo because it had contained Yahoo's logo. Next thing I knew, the hacker pretending to be me sent out emails to all my contacts asking them to deposit money to a certain account because I was "stranded without money and passport due to being robbed" somewhere out of the country. Thankfully, none of my friends and other contacts were gullible enough to send money and they thought of calling me first to check on the legitimacy of the email. I never got to open that Yahoo mail ever again after that as my password had been changed.    

That dear readers is just one of the ways cyber criminals operates. With technology more advanced than before, these cyber criminals have also leveled up. In fact, 2013 Norton Report findings show that while the number of online adults who have experienced cybercrime has decreased, the average cost per victim has risen by 50 percent (US$298 up from US$197 in 2012)!

Not only that. Findings from the Norton Report have also shown that cyber criminals have moved to targeting just PCs to targeting consumers and enterprises' mobile devices - tablets and smartphones alike because we've become more mobile nowadays owning more than just one gadget to accommodate our life on the go. And you know what is alarming to know? While consumers have learned to protect their PC device, there is a lack of awareness to safeguard smartphones and tablets. 

I actually was part of the majority of consumers who don't safeguard their smartphone and/or tablet. But I've realized my mistake because as Symantec's Product Marketing Manager for Consumer and SMB, Philip Routley said, "Today’s cybercriminals are using more sophisticated attacks, such as ransomware and spear-phishing, which yield them more money per attack than ever before. With 49% of consumers using their personal mobile device for both work and play, this creates entirely new security risks for enterprises as cybercriminals have the potential to access even more valuable information.” 

Philip Routley, Symantec Product Marketing Manager for Consumer and SMB

While I listened to Philip Routley discuss the 2013 Norton Report findings, I realized how right he was! It's not just hacking that I as a consumer need to worry about. My digital identity is still in danger if my smartphone and/or tablet got lost especially because my social networking accounts and emails - personal and work plus can easily be accessed by the wrong hands because I don't log out of my social networking and email accounts for convenience. Norton isn't saying we shouldn't use our smartphones or tablets to access our social networking sites anymore or emails for that matter because let's be honest - in today's world, that's kinda hard to do! - what Norton is simply saying is we have to take the proper precautions to avoid becoming a cybercrime victim.  
In fact, here are some of the general tips and best practices courtesy of Norton:

Defend Your DataA comprehensive security suite provides a strong defense against online threats. Norton 360 Multi-Device offers protection for PCs, smartphones and tablets, in a single solution. -I actually use this on my gadgets to keep me protected. (",) 

Think of Mobile Devices as Mini-Computer 

Mobile is the fastest-growing target for cybercriminals. Make sure your mobile device requires a password, and take precautions to ensure you device is protected against theft, loss and cybercrime.

Be Cautious in the Cloud

While cloud storage solutions make it easy to save and share files, they also open other avenues for attack. Be careful about who has access to your files, and use a solution with built-in security if possible

Save Sensitive Transactions for Secure Connection

Free or unsecured Wi-Fi networks can make it easy for thieves to eavesdrop on your activity. Avoid doing any sensitive transactions like banking or shopping while connected to these networks, or use a personal VPN client

After You Connect, Double Check

Check credit card and bank statements regularly for fraudulent transactions, and report any suspicious activity to your provider and/or law enforcement

Have a strong password

Create complex passwords which include a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and change your passwords regularly. Consider using a free password manager like Norton Identity Safe, to eliminate the hassle of remembering multiple passwords while keeping your personal information secure

Protect Your Social Network

Don’t blindly click on links within your social network and avoid clicking on any dubious content you may see with sensational, attractive titles. Norton Safe Web for Facebook application is a free tool that uses site rating technology to scan people’s Facebook news feeds for malicious web links

Let's all err on the side of caution folks especially in this digitally connected world we live in now.      

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