As we enter Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s more important than ever to protect our data online. Google Cybersecurity Expert, Alex Krasov gives tips on how to stay safe on line.
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Cyber Security Month – Alex Krasov Transcription
Mason Paine: With the progression of technology, we are more prone to online threats and hacking. Google security expert, Alex Krasov joins me to discuss how you can stay safe online. Thanks for joining me, Alex.
Alex Krasov: Thanks so much for having me.
Mason Paine: So tell me what exactly is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
Alex Krasov: Sure. Well, Cybersecurity Awareness month is, in my view, the best time of the year. it happens during October and really is a month. Government organizations, tools, and really anyone to pay attention to cybersecurity and think about their safety online and what we can all do to stay a little bit safer online.
Mason Paine: Now, when you say safer, what exactly are you pertaining to? What are we being safe from?
Alex Krasov: Well, a big concern online, especially as we get into the holiday shopping season, are things like online. A lot of online scans will actually be phishing attempts. And that’s phish with a pH. And whenever you’re talking about phishing, you’re talking about a bad actor trying to get some kind of personal information from you by posing as someone else.
Alex Krasov: That could be a password to one of your accounts. It could be your credit card information, your bank information. But you know about 90% of cyber. Actually start with a Phish attempt. So this is a very serious online scam and it can have a lot of ramifications for individuals.
Mason Paine: Now, it’s funny you mentioned that my mother, she got a text message the other day from Amazon saying that her account needed to be verified and my mother doesn’t have an Amazon account, so that’s the only reason she knew that this was a trick. But sometimes it’s not that easy. I know that sometimes these things can look very official. How can you tell, like are there little signs that will help people understand this?
Alex Krasov: Yeah, absolutely. As you say, it can be really hard to tell sometimes. So. When it comes to things like email, if you’re using Gmail, Gmail actually automatically blocks 99.9% of spam and phishing emails, which means those never even make it into your inbox. But we all know, sometimes we get this as a text or sometimes an email slip through. What can you do? Well, one of the best things you can do is rather than clicking on a link that you think might be suspicious, Or you’re not sure if it’s from an official source, go directly to that account or that website. So let’s say you get that text message about an Amazon account.
Alex Krasov: Instead of clicking the link in the text message, go directly to your Amazon account. Log in there and see if anything needs to happen. That way you know you’re going to the official source rather than clicking on a link that might be posing as the official source.
Mason Paine: Now one of the things that I like to do is to use two step verification, but does, is that very helpful at all?
Alex Krasov: Yes. Two step verification is very helpful. So, One of the things that people try to, like bad actors try to get out of a phishing scam is your password, right? If they get access to your password, they can then log into your account and potentially access some of your personal information, maybe your credit card or financial information. If you have two step verification turned on, they won’t be able to log into your account with just your password alone. They’re gonna need that second factor of authentic. And that is a great way to protect your account.
Mason Paine: Now, I’m curious, does cybersecurity protection vary from country to country?
Alex Krasov: It can, depending on what kind of environment you’re in. But if you’re using tools like Google Tools, so the Chrome browser, if you’re on, you know, searching online in the Chrome browser, if you’re using Gmail, if you’re using the Google Play, Those are tools that are available around the world, and those protections would be built into those Google tools no matter where you are in the world.
Mason Paine: Now, one of the things that I know a lot of people have an opinion about is virus protection. About which one is the best. I’m curious, which one do you use?
Alex Krasov: You know, I have a number of different virus protections that are built in primarily because I am using a lot of the Google tools. So if you’re using something like Chrome browser to do your browsing, one of the features I love is if I’m going to a site that might have malware or a virus on it. Google Chrome actually scans for that automatically in the background. And if I’m navigating to a site that might be dangerous, I’ll get a popup alert that says, Avoid this site. It might be malicious, and then I’ll know not to go there. So I have to worry a lot less about those viruses that way.
Mason Paine: Now, we talked a lot about phishing emails and things like that, but are there other big threats pertaining to cyber security right now?
Alex Krasov: Yeah, absolutely. You know, ransomware is a huge threat in cyber security, and data breaches are a huge threat. But again, the interesting things about all of those kinds of attacks is that most of them start with a simple phishing attempt. . So it’s not just about trying to get money from an individual. More sophisticated cyber attacks can actually start as a fishing camp. For example, targeting one specific employee at an institution, getting their login credentials, and then being able to execute the ransomware attack to get millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars from that individual organization by holding them ransom.
Mason Paine: So let’s say you did get. You bit into the bait, you got phished are all of your accounts now compromised?
Alex Krasov: Well, not necessarily. If you shared information such as a password for one account, if you’re using different passwords across different accounts, then you’ve really only exposed one of your accounts and then you could go quickly change the password in that account and hopeful. Stem the attack that way. But if you’re doing something like reusing your password, which I know it is so tempting, but this is a big no-no. If you are reusing your password across multiple sites, well then you are putting all of those accounts at risk. And scammers know this, right? They know that people like three use passwords. So what I do is I use Google Password Manager. It’s a tool that’s built in automatically to your Google account. You don’t have to do anything to turn it on. And it actually creates unique, strong passwords for each individual site where I create an account and I don’t have to remember all those passwords or write them down anywhere.
Alex Krasov: They’re all stored digitally in my Google password manager. . So every time I create a new account, it’s actually creating a unique password. And that way, even if I did get Phished and one of my accounts is compromised, the rest are still safe.
Mason Paine: Well, Alex, before I let you go, was there anything that we missed?
Alex Krasov: No, I think that covers it. You know, we have a lot of familiarity with staying safe in real life. We kind of know scams right when we see them in real. But they’re even more prevalent online. And so it’s just really important that people keep a look out for this.
Mason Paine: Alex, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate you being here. For those listening, where can they find more information about cybersecurity?
Alex Krasov: Yeah, of course. Safety.google.com is a great place to check out our safety center. It will have all these tools and tips listed there.
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