Tools for the Prevention of Cybercrime

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Preventing cybercrime at home or at work may be as simple as installing the right software. In this lesson, you'll learn more about tools you can use to thwart viruses, malware and network intrusions.

Target Off-Target

In 2013, hackers got into popular retailer Target's computer system, stealing more than 40 million credit card numbers and the personal information of more than 70 million Target shoppers. A few years later, we learned that Target spent more than $1.5 million on anti-malware software that could have halted the attack ... if a certain feature of the software had been turned on. According to reports, Target's security personnel were distrustful of the software and the rest as they say is history.

The prevention of cybercrime can be facilitated through the use of software products to thwart attacks.
cyber, security, crime, software, prevention, tools

Today's sophisticated off-the-shelf and open-source software options are efficient enough to protect businesses (and even individuals) from cybercrime attacks by malicious individuals hoping to steal data, money or both. That is, if the company or personal computer owner has them installed and the software is working properly.

Of course, software cannot, and should not, take the place of careful computer usage and common sense when emailing or surfing the web. You should always avoid opening suspicious email attachments, visiting sketchy websites, putting too much personal information online or clicking links if you're not 100 percent certain where they lead. In short, security sense and security software go hand in hand.

Let's take a look at a few products that can help prevent cybercrime from striking your home or office.

Software to the Rescue

With so many security software options, it may be intimidating to figure out what types of software you need most and which can be left by the wayside. Here are a few critical pieces you should consider.

Password Management Software

If you're constantly forgetting passwords, choosing passwords that are easy to guess or haven't changed the same password you use across multiple devices and accounts, you are ripe for hackers. Password management software will save you from storing passwords where they can be easily stolen (i.e. on sticky notes or in your computer's cloud system). You can use this software to let you select more complex passwords and securely store them in a protected system. Consider LastPass, Keeper or 1Password as software tools to accomplish this effort. They all have options available from just a few bucks a month for both businesses and individuals. This is a cheap safeguard for your online accounts.

Email Encryption Software

For businesses in particular, email is a quick and efficient way for colleagues to communicate, whether they are in the same building or halfway around the world. But email also presents one of the most common avenues hackers use in accessing their victims' sensitive data and communications. Email encryption software encodes email messages and attachments from the time the originator hits ''send'' until they reach the recipient, making it less likely that important contents can be hacked or accessed along the way. Symantec Desktop Email Encryption, PKWARE's SecureZip and Virtru can help your business send emails securely. One option is to require a sender-generated password to open an email's content.

Firewalls

A firewall may not sound like a type of software, but it is still an important barrier to protect your network from intrusion. This protective system watches both incoming and outgoing traffic on your network and blocks things it believes to be of a suspicious nature. This is a good way to keep employees from accessing harmful websites or allowing spam emails to hit workers' inboxes, where malicious files may be unknowingly downloaded. A couple good (and free) firewall options include choices from ZoneAlarm, Comodo and, if you like a little more customization, OpenDNS.

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