In the United States, one in every three Americans suffers from cyber attacks each year. Someone is hacked every 39 seconds, so it is critical to know how to prevent and maintain sound cyber-security. In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this October, Pulley Media is showing you how to maintain cyber security and help prevent attacks to the fullest.

Cyber Risks

Since the internet is widely used today for things like email messaging, shopping, online banking and social use, protecting vital personal information is a must. Hackers, unauthorized users who invade systems, can gain access to our devices and computers by integrating a virus somewhere online, and waiting for unsuspecting users to click on them, evidently infecting our devices with viruses. Opening emails with virus containing attachments, visiting dangerous links and downloading harmful programs are some common ways a device can become infected by a virus. When shopping online, make sure the web server contains an SSL certificate. These are small files that deter breaching of an organization’s sensitive information such ass credit card and log-in details. This is a critical security measure many organizations initiate to confirm secure sessions between their web server and the web browser. To identify an SSL encrypted server, the “HTTP” at the beginning of a domain name will be shown as “HTTPS”, where the “S” stands for “secure”. Sometimes a web address will show a green bar or a pad-lock in the browser bar to show SSL certificate presence.

Once a virus is present, it has the potential to spread, causing unexpected damaging effects such as destroying sensitive data. Some viruses are designed with financial gain intent as well, which is why protecting your device from attacks is crucial to not only the safety of your hard drive, but also the safety of your financial and personnel information like your social security number. In some cases, hackers will take control of an infected computer, using it to commence attacks on larger systems.

Protecting yourself

There are many tips and useful information available for protecting yourself against cyber attacks. Below are some tactics you can implement starting today.

Install real-time anti-spyware and keep them current: Although there are free programs capable of detecting spyware threats, they only detect the threats once they’ve infected your system. This is why you should invest in a professionally licensed anti-spyware program. These will aid tremendously to prevent infections and remove already existing ones. Additionally, you must make sure your anti-malware application is updated. A non-current program is vulnerable to the latest threats, since most anti-virus programs require regular updates.

Perform daily scans: Computer users may add an extra layer of protection by performing complete daily scans of a system’s hard drive. Occasionally, infections and viruses escape a security software’s protection since the number of possible attacks is infinite.

Web surfing with caution: Internet plug-ins and pop-up blockers are excellent ways to add extra security when surfing the web. Similar to link-protection, these tools are used to prevent attacks and exploits that pose harmful threats to your computer. A way for hackers to exploit these protection tools is by attaching themselves to email links using drive-by infections. Crafty emails containing persuasive attachment links where entering credit card information, banking and personal information is the goal is a way for hackers to manipulate virus protection. You should never click on email attachments without scanning them for viruses using an anti-malware application.

Regularly changing passwords is a great way to protect yourself from hackers stealing your passwords and emails. One way to find out if you’ve been compromised is by visiting With over 580 million passwords, this database checks if your email addresses and passwords appear in any patchy databases.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month hopes to gain awareness of the dangers in the cyber industry. Unfortunately, many people disregard this topic with the assumption that it won’t happen to them, but as statistics show if you’re not protected and aware, it sure can!