October 14, 2016   |   Updated: July 9, 2019


Every few weeks headlines showcase a story of a large data breach where personal data, passwords and banking information may have been compromised. With these cyber incidents on the rise, IEEE Senior Member Kevin Curran weighed in with thoughts on this ever-growing problem.

Curran said the real danger online is ransomware. He went on to explain that, “the security vendor Malwarebytes demonstrated the danger by using a ‘honeypot’ to attract attackers and see how many took the bait. They discovered an increase in data attacks from 17% in 2015 to 259% in 2016. Ransomware is the nasty malware that holds people’s data files hostage until a payment is made in bitcoins.”

While ransomware may currently only be impacting banking and password-protected accounts, the trend suggests that in the future we may have to worry about breaches to smart devices and IoT appliances in our homes. With the surge in connected devices, the threat may also eventually extend to intelligent transportation.

“Experts from The Future Laboratory predict that by 2040, more crime will be committed by machines than by humans,” says Curran. “This will arise as the human workforce moves towards more automation.”
While Curran explains that it is almost impossible to truly be safe online, there are ways to try and safeguard your data. To make computing feel safer, Curran created a list of tips to help you keep your data private and protected from hackers.



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