The Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act is a bill promoted by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch that establishes a set of good practices for the education of the general public. Due to the immense growth of cyber crime, these guidelines are necessary for every individual and business.
“Cyber attacks threaten our economy and inflict untold damage on thousands of Americans,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah while addressing Congress in late June. He was introducing a bill that encourages government and public education of cyber security, via standardized and regularly-updated practices and training, as well as a website that serves as an education tool for the private business and the general public.
Senator Hatch speaks the truth. Cyber security is the fastest growing industry in the world because cyber crime is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Companies lose billions every year, and that number only rises. In fact, $73 billion was spent on cyber security last year, but according to CNBC, to cost of cyber crime was over $450 billion. It’s estimated that cyber crime will have cost the world $4 trillion by 2019.
The Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act of 2017 is sponsored by Senator Hatch, as well as Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass. The House of Representative’s companion piece is sponsored by Rep. Anne Ashoo, D-Calif, and Susan Brooks, R-Ind. The goal of the act is to establish a set of best practices for good cyber “hygiene”. The suggestions include the 5 following guidelines:
Backup system – have a recovery system in place, whether a cloud-based or physical backup drive. Ideally, a backup system is offsite and less likely to be tampered with.
Antivirus – This is a type of software that has been around for a long time, and most people associate it with annoying reminders to update. However, it’s a great tool to help your data stay malware and virus free. Install a current version on all PCs you own.
Software Updates – Perhaps one of the easiest steps to take, but one of the easiest to forget as well. Updating your Operating System, as well as any and all other software you have installed on your computer. You can usually find a “set to automatically update” option in the settings, check your software to see if you are up to date!
Enable File Extensions – It’s easy to misread a file name and inadvertently run a process that downloads a virus or other type of malware. Enabling file extensions can help you be aware of potential exploits and dangers, such as unknown files with a “.exe”, “.vbs”, or “.scr” extension.
Phishing – never open an attachment from an unknown email or recipient. Make sure you verify all correspondence before sharing any information with anyone you don’t know.
The bill also calls for the assessment of different internet of things (IoT) devices and more established guidelines for the public concerning these types of things. Robert Jorgensen, a private sector cyber security expert, and director of the cyber security program at Utah Valley University, stated in an interview with Deseret News that “A lot of these new, connected devices are just being rushed to market and people aren’t considering the security issues… exploiting security weaknesses in the internet of things realm isn’t theoretical, it’s happening now.”
The public needs to know about cyber security, and how to prevent cyber attacks on their home and/or business. They need to know how to protect their children, and how to protect their livelihoods. Cyber security is a need that everyone has, and hopefully, this bill gives some education to those that need to apply it most.
If you want to learn more about cyber security, and how you can better protect yourself and your company, click here, and keep reading this blog daily for tips, tricks, and cyber security resources near you!