Intruder Alert

CoaxisEven before Captain Kirk took off on his maiden voyage on the Enterprise, Dr. John Robinson guided the Jupiter 2 through the sci-fi series, Lost in Space. Decades later, one of the most memorable lines from the series which was routinely stated by the robot aboard the Jupiter 2. The robot who would continually caution the youngest passenger, Will Robinson, of impending peril with the classic line, “Warning, warning, danger Will Robinson, intruder alert.”

Fast-forward several decades to the reality that many of us traverse a similar journey to that of Will Robinson every day online, as we can quickly get lost in cyberspace. Unfortunately we are most likely to be lacking the pre-emptive words of warning from a guardian robot and fall unsuspectedly into real online risk.

In March 2015 Heimdal Security published 10 Surprising Cyber Security Facts That May Affect Your Online Safety. One of the interesting but scary facts is the estimated annual cost for cyber-crime committed globally added up to 100 billion dollars. Some the other key facts in Heimdal Security’s report included:

  • Social media is a hacker’s favorite target – including link-jacking and phishing
  • 99% of computers are at risk from software vulnerabilities, which are often exploited in prompts for updates in advertising banners
  • 68% of funds lost as a result of a cyber-attack were declared unrecoverable

The other facts in the Heimdal report are equally frightening and thought provoking.

Other cyber security news sources have stated:

  • 32% of computers in the world likely have malware
  • 57% of computers have some of virus
  • 74,000 estimated number of new viruses every day

Every IT user who taps on a keyboard, clicks on a link, downloads software or engages in social media is at risk to the invisible intrusion of malicious online activity. It does not take long to truly get lost in cyber space, and all without the guidance of a friendly robot to warn us.

You can never take too much precaution online. I tend to function by the rule that when in doubt, leave it out. If you get a strange message from a name or firm you don’t recognize, don’t go there. If you get a sudden email from your financial institution that looks out of place or from a different delivery channel, do not click, call them instead. Too often the invisible intruder is lurking in the depths of your hardware, gathering confidential information to be used at your expense.

There is both adventure and danger lurking in our daily travels in cyber space travel. Heed the words of a pioneer robot’s early sci-fi encounters and take warning there is danger, intruder alert and this time it is online.