What Is Cybersecurity and Why Should It Matter to You?

I’ve been in the Technology, Data Privacy and Cybersecurity fields for over 20 years, so I decided to break down cybersecurity for you and share everything you need to know about cybersecurity, so you can get a full picture of why cybersecurity is so important and how cybersecurity applies to the protection of your data, your family and business.

I’ll also be sharing the four most common types of cybercrime, introducing you to the Cybermonsters, and give you a list of seven tips you can implement today in your cyber safety practices, whether you’re new to cybersecurity or not.

Let’s start with an important question:

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the set of practices, processes and technologies designed to protect our digital world from internal and external threats.

There are over 250 different frameworks used globally in outlining the best practices and guidelines to help manage and reduce cyber risks. For example, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines, ( as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce), suggest using a passphrase instead of a single word as a password to keep your information safe.

Learn more about password protection here

Why Is Cybersecurity Important?

Because almost everything we do is affected and surrounded by technology whether it is for work, school, social interactions, entertainment, travel, health and more, cybersecurity becomes more important everyday.

As the cyber world expands so does cybercrime. Did you know there is a victim of identity theft every 2 seconds and a cyber-attack every 39 seconds? I don’t want you to be next, because I know what a nightmare it was for me and for the women I’ve helped in the recovery process!

My mission is to empower women to become cyber savvy and take charge of their cyber safety. This can be done by sharing Cyber Stories to make cybersecurity simple, relatable, and inspiring.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures “Cybercriminal activity is one of the biggest challenges that humanity will face in the next two decades. Cyber-attacks are the fastest growing crime globally and they are increasing in size, sophistication, and cost.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “cybersecurity as the measures taken to protect a computer or computer system against unauthorized access or attack.” while “cyber safety are safe practices when using the internet to prevent personal attacks or criminal activity.”

Cybersecurity vs. Cyber Safety

Cybersecurity focuses on the protection of our data, digital assets, our personal identifiable information (known as PII), to protect financial and health data, the intellectual property and data of governments, businesses and industries.

Cyber safety focuses on the personal aspect of cybersecurity and includes physical and mental wellbeing in our cyber world. Practicing cybersecurity and cyber safety online can protect us from hackers, scammers and Cybermonsters who are constantly attempting to steal, manipulate, damage and take control of our cyber world.

As you can see, cybersecurity applies to everyone!

Have you ever wondered: How did we get here?

Brief History on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is often perceived as boring, but its origins are quite fascinating! In 1971, Bob Thomas realized that it was possible for a computer program now known as a computer worm to move across a network, leaving a small trail behind. He named the program “Creeper”, and designed it to travel printing the message:

“I’m the Creeper: Catch me if you can!”

The creation of this worm wasn’t not malicious in any way. However, it started a dangerous trend. In 1986 the first virus known as “Brain” was written by two brothers who were only 17 and 24 years old.

In 1988, Robert Morris an American computer scientist and entrepreneur created the computer worm known as “The Morris worm.” Morris’ intent was to highlight the security flaws of the time. However, the code replicated this worm massively, breaking the internet for several days. Morris was prosecuted for releasing the worm, and became the first person convicted under the then-new Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Fast-forward to 2000…

I got the first phone call due to a major cybersecurity incident. It was 2:00 in the morning and we were all infected with a virus called “Iloveyou.” This virus infected 45 million people in just one day, causing damages estimated over $8 billion and over 15 billion to remove the worm.

In today’s world, with the advent of The Dark Web, everyone’s information is at risk. That’s why it’s important to be aware of any threats to your safety, or you could be victim of a cyber attack just by going into your computer browser, using your phone or electronic devices, checking your email, or scrolling down on social media feeds. The consequences could be devastating.

Computer worms are a form of malware that may be just around the corner, hoping that you’ll click on a malicious link that looks harmless, unknowingly hover a malvertising ad, or simply trying to close a pesky popup window, that is actually an adware, that has been designed to infect and affect your computer.

Learn about Data Breaches

The Top 4 Types of Cybercrime

To simplify cybersecurity, let’s discuss the 4 most common types of cybercrime:

  1. Identity theft – when your personal information is stolen and used to impersonate you.
  2. Phishing– when Cybermonsters attempt to deceive or trick you using malicious software to infect your electronic devices
  3. Ransomware – when Cybermonsters lock your computer, information, data or your network and leave a ransom note asking you to pay if you want to access your information again. This is one of the most lucrative forms of illegal business making, which surpasses billions of dollars every year.
  4. Internet fraud – when Cybermonsters use, provide, or hide your information for the purpose of tricking you. Their purpose is to get money from you, whether it is intentionally or voluntarily.

Who are the Cybermonsters?

Cybermonsters are the dangerous creatures that threaten your safety in the cyber world. Some of them are big, they can be anywhere, but they all hide behind a keyboard.

Cybermonsters pretend to be your grandma, when in reality they are the wolf that wants to eat us. Does this cyber tale sound familiar?

The 4 Types of Cybermonsters

CyCri-M0 – The Cyber Criminal Monsters:

They are the most profitable illegal industry at this time, which isn’t surprising, since they go after one thing and one thing only: Our money! Read more about CyCri-M0 (Cyber Criminals)…

InSi-M0 – The Insider Monster:

These are individuals with legitimate access to your personal information or business. Whether it’s by accident, because of ignorance or negligence, or even with a specific financial or malicious intent, they misuse their access to your data and negatively affect you. Read more about InSi-M0 (Insider Hackers)…

“HaKi-M0” – The Hacktivist Monster

This could be an individual or a group that has some sort of social or political mission. The word “hacktivist” is the combination of the word “activist” and the word “hacking. Read more about HaKi-M0 (Hacktivism)…

“NaSu-M0” – The Nation State Monsters

Their motivation is either a political, economic, technical, or military agenda. They work to disrupt a specific target, either a country or government, organizations, or individuals to gain access to valuable information. Read more about NaSu-M0 (Nation State Hackers)…

7 Cybersecurity Tips You Can Implement Right Now to Stay Cyber Safe:

  1. Be intentional when using your technology. For example, verify if links are safe before clicking.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings when browsing the internet. Notice, for example when a window pops up or whether the website you’re about to navigate is secure.
  3. Be mindful when sharing your personal information online, or over your phone. Practicing Cyber Mindfulness can help you pay attention so you can quickly identify any scams and cyber traps and avoid falling for them.
  4. Prevent browser hijacking by keeping your browser and your devices updated.
  5. Use a password manager and two-factor authentication to protect your credentials.
  6. Use security tools such as anti-virus /anti-malware or anti-adware, a VPN and a firewall.
  7. Schedule cyber safety practices regularly, to prioritize them.
  8. Use a Cyber Assessment to identify what areas need your attention. This is a key tool to start protecting what matters most to you.

Learn about browser hijacking

What did you learn today?

Simply by getting familiar with the basics of cybersecurity and cyber safety, as well as understanding cybercrime and the main motivation of the Cybermonsters, you are taking major steps to protect your family, your business and your data. I’m so proud of you!

Now that you have seven cybersecurity tips to take action on and be Happily Ever Cyber!, I invite you to implement them.

And to help you take the first step, I want to offer you a gift! You can download a bundle of Cyber Checklists from my best-selling and award winning book, Happily Ever Cyber! at absolutely no cost to you. It’s a win-win (one of my company’s core values) because you will get a blueprint on how to be cyber safe and your information will be secure!

You’ll also get a subscription to my blog, where I’ll be answering your questions about cyber safety and covering cybersecurity topics such as malvertising, romance scams, robocalls, trojan horses, click-to-download, DDOS attacks, spyware, botnet attacks, and much more!

Live Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok, CEO and Founder of Way2Protect | Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok

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