It’s Halloween, and that means three things: candy, costumes, and craziness. If you’re looking for a last-minute get-up, why not go with what’s in the news? It’s too soon for any health-crisis-related costumes, so let’s focus on some stories that have hit closer to home: data breaches!

Thinking about it, hackers must be an easy costume to pull together, right? It’s basically a bank robber with a keyboard… according to Google.



These cheesy getups are guaranteed to get some laughs at parties, but anyone in the know will be shaking their head. The truth is, hackers don’t look like this any of the above images. I mean, why would you need to wear a balaclava in your own house? They’re not even comfortable, and they’re way less effective at hiding your face online than even a piece of electrical tape over your webcam. Heck, even Whit Diffie does that.

When we get this image of a masked cyber criminal stuck in our minds, it leaves us vulnerable to actual threats. Now, I don’t mean to be that lady putting floss in your trick-or-treat bag, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to security awareness.

Real hackers are tricky to spot, because one of their goals is to blend in with the crowd — they won’t be running through the streets with fedoras and Guy Fawkes masks. They could look like the pizza guy, your cousin’s girlfriend, a local bank teller, etc. Hackers don’t actually want you to notice them.

Blending in makes social engineering much easier. After all, would you think twice if a man in coveralls and a hardhat shows up and starts asking questions about your phone lines? What if someone who claims to be from tech support calls you and asks what kind of router is in your office’s wiring closet? Remember, you don’t owe anyone any information about yourself or the systems you’re using — if people are sniffing around for information, you can say no. If fact, there’s a host of things you can do to keep yourself safe in a world of potential threats.

Halloween is a day to pretend you’re someone else. Just remember that black hats are walking among us, disguising their real intentions every day. Keeping an open mind about what to expect when dealing with cyber criminals may just help you stay safe in the future. Now that’s sweet!

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