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Public Policy

It's National Cyber Security Awareness Month

@johnsolit

October 8, 2013

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It’s a chance to be reminded of the role we all play in maintaining a safe, secure cyber ecosystem.

As an industry dependent on the health and security of digital networks, cable takes its role in cyber security very seriously. This past March, one of the largest cyber-attacks took place against a European organization called Spamhaus. It was a distributed denial of service, or DDOS attack. By harnessing the power of hundreds of unwitting, infected computers, cyber criminals were able to create a “botnet” and simultaneously send an overwhelming amount of data to their victim’s server, rendering it functionless.  This kind of attack can have serious ramifications for individuals, businesses, and even governments. Your cable ISP can help prevent these kinds of attacks by alerting you that something on your home network is communicating with a compromised server – a server that could be a potential cyber security threat.

The graphic below shows how a botnet attack works – and how your cable Internet provider can help prevent one.  A criminal can take control of thousands of computers – even your computer – and create a botnet. Before your computer can be taken over, it often has to have a piece of malware installed on it. This can be a program with a virus that you accidentally downloaded or it could be installed remotely, without you knowing about it.

botnet-finalv5

Click to Enlarge

However it happens, once your computer is infected, it’s possible that it can be controlled and used in a botnet attack. That’s why it’s so important for consumers to both understand what a botnet attack is and how they can be prevented through better online habits.

So change your passwords often, create hard-to-guess passwords, never share them with anyone, and avoid malware. Check out this article to learn other tips on how to keep your computer safe.

As our technology evolves, the threats to that technology evolve as well.  It’s up to all of us to prevent cyber security threats.