Montana Ranks 3rd in the Nation for Cyber Crime Risk
We have conversations about cybersecurity with lots of Montana business owners, and the response we most often get is: “Me? A target? I’m way too small to be a target. No one cares about the information on my network!”
We disagree. So does the Ponemon Institute for Independent Research.
After surveying over 4,000 individuals, a 2018 Ponemon Institute report sponsored by Webroot identified the top 5 riskiest states from a cybersecurity perspective. Florida leads the pack, followed closely by Wyoming and Montana. New Mexico and Illinois take numbers 4 and 5.
The bad guys don’t care if your computer network is in Sidney, MT or New York, NY. They are just looking for low hanging fruit. Don’t be low hanging fruit!
Here are some things you can do:
- Pay attention! You are busy. We know that your inbox is crowded, that you’re always multitasking, and that your home life is likely just as demanding as your work life. But keep in mind that criminals rely on us to be fully human – distracted, rushed, emotional – in order to reach their goals. Be intentional about your online activity and ask your family and your colleagues to do the same.
- Passwords! “…Change my password? It’s so inconvenient! I can’t ever remember it after I change it! 12 characters? I’m sure it doesn’t make that much of a difference! Right…??” Wrong. It takes 0.29 milliseconds to crack a 7-character password. Choose a complex password. It doesn’t have to be automatically generated, but it should be 10-12 characters long. Use a “pass-phrase” you’re likely to recall easily, like: LastBestPlace2019 or MaybeIwillRememberThis1!
- Updates! Believe it or not, operating system and software updates aren’t just there to annoy you and disrupt your workflow. They are issued when a security hole is discovered and their purpose is to patch that hole. Check for updates and install them regularly. In most cases, you can schedule them outside of high-traffic or business hours.