Cybersecurity for musicians and the music industry
Musicians have a lot on their plates, from writing songs, branding, marketing, preparing for performances, and much more. However, you are likely on your phone and computer, but you haven’t thought much about cybersecurity.
This may be an innocent mistake that can be costly no matter if you have an individual Youtube channel or have content hosted on well-known streaming websites that are believed to be safe. So, improving your cybersecurity should be an important consideration as you cannot afford to overlook it.
What is cybersecurity, and why is it essential to musicians?
Cybersecurity is the act of protecting internet-enabled systems like software, hardware, and data from unauthorized access and digital attacks.
Technology is advancing rapidly, and data has become the new gold. Therefore, cybercriminals are devising new ways to steal your work, personal and financial information to sell to third parties. An attack can be devastating to your career, especially if you store your music data on your phone or computer.
Your name will become more prominent as your popularity rises as a musician. As a result, hackers will be aware of your existence and may target you more than an average citizen. So, you should pay attention to cybersecurity to safeguard yourself, the music business, and your career.
The importance of awareness
Hackers and other malicious actors may specifically target you because of the increased public attention. Therefore, it is vital to know the common social engineering tactics cybercriminals use.
Social engineering manipulation exists in many forms to make you fall into the scheme. For example, a fraudster can email you claiming to represent a government agency like the IRS. This is meant to convince you to act promptly to what they are asking for without questioning the validity. Also, they can create a fake celebrity profile on social media platforms such as Facebook and friend request you.
Knowing the existing cyber threats will help you prepare better and avoid them. Here are some of the most common attacks that can affect your music career.
This is one of the most common cyberattacks where the criminal sends a fake email that resembles a trusted entity. They intend to steal sensitive data like login credentials and credit card information or install malware on your device. This can give hackers access to your devices to steal your music files.
The easiest way to protect yourself from phishing attacks is by staying vigilant. A spoofed email will contain mistakes that are easy to notice like spelling errors and incorrect domain names. Also, stop clicking on embedded links in emails, as you can be redirected to a phishing site.
Malware is a shrinkage for ‘malicious software.’ It refers to viruses, Trojans, worms, ransomware, and other harmful programs designed to steal data and destroy computers. The malware will become installed on your device once you click on a malicious link or attachment. An active malware can block access to your files, obtain information from hard drives or make individual parts inoperable.
So, be careful when downloading anything online and take caution when opening links and attachments in suspicious emails. Also, an effective way to prevent malware is by installing anti-malware software from a reliable source.
3. Denial of service (DoS)
This is a cyber threat that floods a computer, making it unable to respond to requests. A distributed denial of service (DDoS) works the same way, although the attack stems from a computer network.
Criminals can use various techniques and even launch other attacks while the network is disabled. For example, a botnet is a common DDoS attack where millions of computers are infected with malware and remotely controlled by a hacker.
Employing multi-level protection strategies like firewall, antivirus, content filter, and a VPN will help you prevent a DDoS attack. Also, you can equip your network and infrastructure with a security layer to monitor and identify traffic inconsistencies.
4. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack
In this attack, the cybercriminal intercepts and secretly positions themselves in a communication between two people. They aim to steal personal information from either party, spy, corrupt data, or sabotage the communication altogether. However, this attack mainly occurs when using an unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspot.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a simple but effective way to stay safe man-in-the-middle attack. It will encrypt your connections as well as hide your real IP address and location.
Protecting your music
Cybercriminals can specifically target your music. Hence, you should find ways to safeguard the pieces you are working on and those you have already released online. The easiest way to secure your songs is by creating a backup. As a result, you won’t lose everything even if the hacker infiltrates one source. Also, use a solid password (combination of small, capital words, and special characters) to add an extra protection level for your songs.
Furthermore, you can engage with a legal professional to take necessary measures if your music is ever compromised. A lawyer will help you prepare legally if anyone copyrights your songs or compromises your work.
Also, you may need to take additional protection measures if your music is available online for streaming. This is because hacks are frequent and can compromise your entire work. To stay safe, use a trustworthy streaming service with dependable security features. In addition, avoid free streaming services since most of them are insecure.
Protecting your brand
Besides your music, cybercriminals can also target your brand. For example, a hacker can take over your social media accounts or even your website and lock you out. The problem is that they can post offensive content that might ruin your reputation, and there is nothing you can do about it.
In fact, this problem has affected many celebrities, including Mark Zuckerberg and Taylor Swift. Hackers infiltrated their accounts and posted strange content. Making it worse, cybercriminals can access your credit card and bank account if they manage to steal your financial information.
As you can see above, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from cyber-attacks as a musician. Keep in mind that chances of getting targeted increase as you gain more attention and become a public figure. So, focus on your cybersecurity to save your career.
Image Credit: Onur Binay on Unsplash