Confession time: Once, I broke into a house.
Hold on. Before you judge me – it was my house, and I was 15.
See, I forgot my house key. It was after school, my parents wouldn’t be home for hours… and I was hungry. So, instead of simply hanging out at the neighbors for a bit, I decided to flex my underutilized criminal muscle.
I went into the backyard and eyed the sliding glass door for a few minutes, silently demanding it to let me through. Finally, I grabbed some hedge clippers, pried the door open and unhooked the inner latch with a stick. Air conditioning hit my face. Success.
I know, I’m a regular John Dillinger.
I was feeling rather proud of myself until my parents came home, found out what I’d done and rightfully panicked when they realized how easy it was to break into the house. Shortly afterward, we were the proud owners of a state-of-the-art security system.
Luckily for my family, we were able to realize our vulnerability – and fix it – because of a harmless childhood antic.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t that lucky.
Instead, they only realize how exposed their lives are after an attack has already devastated them.
Take what happened in Bermuda for instance.
This past week, the offshore law firm Appleby (which is based in Bermuda) admitted that its computer records were compromised in 2016 after a cyberattack. And the consequences are just starting to become clear.
The media is comparing it to the Panama Papers debacle.
Appleby is warning its clients (some of the world’s wealthiest people and organizations, including Fortune 500 companies) that this “data security incident” may result in their private information being leaked.
And I can’t help but wonder why a law firm that deals in such sensitive information would leave itself so open to attack. (Too bad it didn’t have a 15-year-old probing its defenses for vulnerabilities.)
But this isn’t an isolated incident.
To this day… hundreds of millions of Americans have been hacked by cybercriminals – and more than 12 new people are hacked each second.
In fact, just earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education warned teachers, parents and education staff of a ransomware attack targeting schools all over the country.
At least three states have already been contacted by cybercriminals demanding money to hold back the release of stolen private information.
Cybercrime is clearly a massive problem. The damage costs are expected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. That’s up from $3 trillion just two years ago.
So it’s no surprise that global spending on cybersecurity products and services is predicted to surpass $1 trillion over the next four years, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.
After all, a massive problem needs a massive solution.
So what does this mean for you? Well, there are two things you can do right now:
- Protect yourself. Learn how to secure your private information – and now. Don’t make yourself an easy target. For instance, use different passwords for your logins. Encrypt any sensitive communications.
- Invest, invest, invest. Considering the massive implications of this cyberwar, it’s time to get ahead of the game. Spending on cybersecurity is ever increasing – promising to make this a booming industry. Already this year, the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (NYSE: HACK) is up about 15%. So now is the time to start investing in companies at the forefront of innovative cybersecurity measures. There’s one company in particular that has developed a method to stop hackers in their tracks.
In the end, it helps you to be aware of this problem so that you can protect your wealth and grow it at the same time. I can’t think of a reason not to.