Watch Cartoons to Protect your Digital Life
Ah, cybersecurity. The word that instantly makes us think of stock images of a lonely finger pressing a holographic sign of a lock on a black and blue background. The lock symbolizes protection, the colors – determination, and the hand would be… action? Even if people wanted to find out more about cybersecurity, a lot of resources would be just like this stock image: very serious, but way too abstract.
In reality, cybersecurity practices are already present as specific parts of our daily routine. Does your laptop lock itself after being inactive for 15 minutes? Yes? Congratulations, you’re on a path to a protected digital life! Now, tune it down to 1 minute to be even safer.
Cybersecurity can seem to be weird, stupid, scary, and hard. But guess what, that’s exactly how a comedian Judy Carter advises to approach a writing process for the jokes. Meaning, cybersecurity can be fun! Today, we’ll follow the advice of Judy and turn negativity into fun. But not to make jokes about cybersecurity – rather to understand it better.
Cybersecuritoons – the fun way to grasp cybersecurity
Corporate employees have to go through cybersecurity training. You know, those videos about a secure development lifecycle that everybody watches but hardly anyone ever remembers. Freelancers are usually on their own if they want to learn how to protect themselves, but their time is way too valuable to waste on long and exhausting cybersecurity courses. Especially when they are not tailored to the resources that freelance workers have in comparison to corporations.
Moonlock, the cybersecurity division of MacPaw, made cybersecurity training that takes only 6 minutes to watch and is packed with practical information for everyone. It goes by the name Cybersecuritoons and is available for free to anyone on the Moonlock’s YouTube channel. The entire training consists of 4 episodes that take 1 minute and 30 seconds each. And to make it fun and non-boring, Moonlock animated the whole thing with the help of a Ukrainian animation studio Animagrad.
Each Cybersecuritoon covers one topic that is essential for understanding: passwords, remote work, phishing, and malware. Through bright animations and memorable characters, the creators hope to unpack complex cybersecurity tech into tools anyone can use. Here’s a brief overview of the course for the curious ones.
Passwords can be weird
Advice to change your password often has already become a staple joke. Even The New Yorker writes humorous essays about it. We’re not supposed to reuse the same password in multiple accounts, but if we’re about to make dozens of them, how we’re supposed to remember them all? Forasmuch as the biggest rule of cybersecurity is not to write passwords down. So, here we are, dreading the moment when we have to come up with a new password. And when this moment comes, we are looking at the screen, overwhelmed and lost.
The first episode of Cybersecuritoons recommends seeing passwords as keys to your property. Store them in a keychain and never ever put the same lock on all doors. Prevent breaking and entering into your accounts with passphrases instead of easy combinations. And set up the alarm system with two-factor authentication, so nobody can get inside even if they somehow got a copy of your key.
Remote work is kind of scary
Moonlock is no stranger to work from home. Like most companies, the team had to switch to remote work during the pandemic. But after the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, a lot of team members had to seek shelter in different corners of the globe, fleeing the war. A part of Moonlock is staying in Kyiv at the moment, choosing to work from their homes or from the headquarters of MacPaw.
And if the rule of separating corporate devices from personal ones doesn’t really apply to freelancers, being vigilant while connecting to public Wi-Fi is worth your attention. In a coworking space, it’s better to lock your laptop once you’re leaving your desk, even for a second. You’d be surprised how many attackers are in public spaces snooping around for our sensitive information. The second Cybersecuritoon talks about that and more in just 90 seconds.
Phishing is not that stupid
Do you know how to spot a phishing scam? The one with the Nigerian prince is too obvious, but the ones that pose as your local business or your bank are sneaky. These days, phishing spreads over text messages, emails, phone calls, and pretends to be from someone you know or a service you use regularly. Phishing plays on your emotions, using the sense of urgency, and not giving you time to think about the situation with a cool-headed approach.
Even the best of us might be caught on the hook of scammers. The Olympics were attacked in 2020 by a massive phishing attack in an attempt to get the personal information of the Olympic fans. As a freelancer, you might be communicating with many different people on business, provide them with your email and phone number, potentially exposing yourself to a risk. Brushing up on your knowledge of red flags and tools to avoid the attack is essential. Especially when the knowledge comes wrapped into a short cartoon that you might watch over a morning coffee.
Malware shouldn’t be hard
Back in the day we only knew viruses. We kind of took them for granted and braced ourselves to fight them from the very first day a computer appeared in our household. Antivirus was the first program we installed, right after drivers for a sound system, web cameras, and a graphic card.
But as the world shifted to work within online spaces, viruses stopped being the only trouble that might compromise our data. Adware, spyware, keyloggers, browser hijackers – you name it – are types of malware that might sneak on your computer through many doors, break the device, and steal your information.
Knowing malware and what it’s capable of helps us understand where it comes from and how to take preventative measures. The final Cybersecuritoon lays out the many faces of malware, breaking it down by the kinds of threats it poses. So, next time your antivirus alerts you of a worm found in your system, you will know to turn off the internet connection immediately instead of simply moving it to quarantine.