Symantec CEO on why consumers need to step up their cybersecurity

Symantec CEO on cybersecurity
Symantec CEO on cybersecurity 05:34

According to a recent report, cybercrime is now costing the world trillions of dollars every year. The U.S. has seen a number of massive cyberattacks in 2017 including hacks of companies like Uber, Verizon, Anthem, Microsoft, X-Box and Google and impacting millions customers. The Equifax hack alone exposed the data of more than 145 million Americans.

Earlier this year, the WannaCry ransomware attack crippled computers in at least 150 countries, costing billions in losses and affecting critical infrastructure at some hospitals.

Greg Clark, CEO of cybersecurity giant Symantec, joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss why ransomware is here to stay and what consumers should be doing inside their home to protect themselves. 

"We've seen even hackers investing in tools for other hackers to build ransomware, extortion malware that can be widely deployed. When you see something like WannaCry, which was a worm, it has exponential expansion capabilities which means it can get everywhere really fast," Clark said. "I'll tell you what, the extortions and ransoms are here to stay. People are making money."

Defending against these cyberattacks is a two-fold problem, he said. Companies certainly need to protect themselves, but consumers do, too.

Cyber Soldiers 11:42

"All of us normal citizens need to take responsibility for some things to take care of our digital safety, our cyber safety. And there's some simple things that we should do," Clark said.

One of those things is always opting for multi-factor identification when possible, meaning it takes more than just a username and a password to access your account. 

Another facet to that safety is protecting your identity.

"This isn't just about credit cards. People can get a driver's license, they can apply for a second mortgage, they can apply for a mortgage in your kid's name, they can make a fraudulent health care claim and so they steal identity information to manufacture," Clark said.  

Even when you're not in front of a computer, you need to be vigilant about the electronics around you.

"Every time you have a piece of internet-enabled consumer electronics, that means it wants to get on a Wi-Fi. …These things have all got computers in them and those computers have vulnerabilities and over time, criminals understand what those vulnerabilities are and they can put their own software in your home consumer electronics," Clark warned.  

The Dyn attack last year is an example, according to Clark, of how an attack can be executed by bad software in consumer electronics. He recommended putting technology in your home that can detect abnormal software or behavior in your electronics.

"We recently launched a product called a Norton Core router, it's a home Wi-Fi router, you put it in your house. What it does is it watches all the consumer electronics. It knows what good is, it knows what normal is. When it sees a deviation from normal, it will do things like take it offline or let you know that that has a problem," he said.

"We think that consumers should take responsibility for the safety of the network inside your house. It is a place of criminal activity and there are technologies that can help clean it up and we think that this will become more and more of a problem."