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Cybercrime not only affects big companies, but it also affects individuals.

As CEO of Melbourne-based IT company Artemis, Travis Proctor has the bead on cyber-thieves bent on stealing valuable information.

“I am always thinking about cybersecurity, including when I am home,” he said.

Once, the issue of cybersecurity was of concern primarily to large corporations. Now, both small businesses and individuals are prime targets, and even data such as a specific visit to the doctor can be extremely profitable.

Cyber-burglars, armed with the knowledge that you recently visited a physician, can try to extract money by asking for credit card information and can gain access to even more personal details by asking recipients to click on a link.

Protection begins with passwords.

“We have unique passwords that change every 90 days for most all our accounts and use dual factor authentication for everything that supports it,” Proctor said.

He also depends on virtual private networks, or VPNs, to connect with important systems outside his house, and that is just the beginning.

“We have set up segmented virtual networks for guest WiFi access and for vendor-connected systems such as AC, lights, etc.,” Proctor said.

A home firewall and router setup adds another layer of protection, along with anti-virus and anti-malware software running the home computers. And, yes, there is more.

“To ensure the security of our personal data, we keep it backed up on separate systems not connected to our home network to be able to restore from if something does happen to our in-home computers,” Proctor said.

Backing up data is not fun, but it can be a lifesaver should you become a victim of ransomware and not be able to retrieve your data.

Recapturing stolen data being held at ransom was a headache for large corporations. It is now a headache for everyone.

“The bad actors have figured out that the data is very important and they will hold it for ransom, which is very profitable for them,” Proctor said.

How is the data mined?

“They use automated software,” said Joshua Adams, the CEO of Rock Paper Simple and a programmer since age 11.

Educating every family member on the critical importance of cyber vigilance can make the difference between being hacked or not.

“With a young son at home, we work to keep him educated on what to look for as possible attempts for people to gain access to our personal information and systems,” Proctor said.

Proctor not only informally discusses cybersecurity with his son, but he takes it a step further.

“We have him annually complete a cyber training program online to just make him aware of some of the potential risks to which he may be exposed online and how to both spot and avoid them,” he said.

Ultimately, a suspicious mind may well be your best ally against cybercrime. Every email is suspect until proven otherwise.