Are you online?

In this day and age, the answer is probably yes. And if so, it’s likely you have been exposed to some type of malicious software. It might have been a simple virus, something caught by your operating system and safely quarantined. Or it might have been something more threatening, requiring a specialist to fix.

These kinds of threats were the subject of a recent Cyber Security Summit at the Washburn University campus. Some 150 people signed up, including members of the general public and business owners.

“In three years, cybersecurity has just blown up,” said Mitch Miller, vice president of Century Business Technologies - Dynamic Division, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal’s India Yarborough. “I mean, the attacks, the malware — all these things happening in the cyber world have just caused people to look closer and closer at ‘How am I protecting myself? How can I prevent scenarios against my company? Am I insured properly?’ ”

It’s a worthwhile question as we do more of our business and take more of our daily lives online. Think of it this way: You wouldn’t leave your home or business unlocked. You certainly wouldn’t leave the doors and windows open. So why would you allow intruders easy access to your digital world?

The answers aren’t solely technical. Users themselves need to understand how security works.

“People need to be aware that the bank’s not going to call and ask for the PIN number or credit card number, and they need to just be a little more cautious with email and phone and electronics in general,” said Justin Sharples, CoreFirst’s senior vice president of information security, at the summit.

The problem permeates the digital world. We hear about high-profile cyber attacks, but they also happen at the individual and small business level. It happens to the government. Everyone on a computer or smartphone, no matter where they work or what they do, has a role to play.

Panic is never the answer, and neither is disconnection. Society has learned to deal with and adapt to threats before. Automobiles and mass production seemed scary in their day and carried costs along with their benefits. Our modern networked world is no different.

But we should be willing to learn and change if necessary. If something online seems wrong or suspicious, it probably is. If you feel uncertain about a transaction, don’t do it. Protecting yourself — and your online world — is worth it.