Cybersecurity in an interconnected world | News

According to the U.S. Census, more than 75 percent of American households have access to a computer and roughly 89 percent of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. With this level of connectivity, many Americans find themselves victimized by cyber criminals.

“Being online exposes us to cyber criminals and others, basically who commit identity theft, fraud, harassment, so every time we connect to the internet at home, school or work or on mobile devices, we make decisions that affect our cybersecurity,” said Darren Waldrep, assistant professor for Management of Cybersecurity Operations at Athens State University.

One of the best ways to protect against cyber threats is through herd immunity. It is every one’s responsibility to maintain cyber security.

“Emerging cyber threats require engagement with the entire American community to create a cyber safe environment, you know, from government, law enforcement to the private sector and most importantly, the ordinary citizen,” said Waldrep.

Being in an area with a high level of Department of Defense and Department of Energy activity, there are concerns for the possibility of Russian cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. According to Waldrep, an attack is unlikely due to the U.S.’s ability to retaliate in turn.

“A Russian attack on the United States critical infrastructure is possible. Nobody’s denying that, but it’s not likely, since the attacks would have a high likelihood of their fingerprints all over it, of coming from Russia,” said Waldrep. “So they also know that the U.S. could also respond in kind, and so they know our capabilities of cyber warfare. Just like we know theirs. So at this point, there probably would not be any real fear of Russian attacks, but really, there’s no magic wand or magic pill to prevent anything like that either.”

Often, cyber breaches come through phishing attacks. Phishing is when a cyber criminal sends an email under the guise of being a reputable organization. The email will contain a link that, when opened, will compromise the security of the device and the…