As a musician, you have many things to worry about. After all, you’re focused on writing songs, marketing, branding yourself, and preparing for that upcoming performance. You’re probably often on your phone or your laptop, and chances are you haven’t given much thought to cybersecurity.
But that’s a crucial mistake that many musicians make, and it can be a costly one. While strengthening your cybersecurity might not be at the top of your to-do list, it’s an important item that you really can’t afford to overlook, especially as your career begins to take off.
Why Cybersecurity Matters for Musicians
Cybersecurity is important for many reasons. As technology has advanced, thieves have become smarter, and they’ve developed new and creative ways to gain your trust or access your personal and financial information. A cybersecurity attack can be expensive, with a thief stealing banking or credit card information and quickly running up charges. An attack can also jeopardize your music, your brand, and your reputation.
As you gain popularity as a musician, more hackers may become aware that you exist, so you can become more of a target than your average citizen who could be targeted more by chance. Just like you take action to protect your stage name and other elements of your business, you also need to focus on your cybersecurity to protect yourself, your business, and your career.
The Importance of Awareness
With increased public attention, hackers may target you, so it’s important to be aware of common social engineering attacks. Social engineering attacks use various strategies to manipulate you into falling for the attack. For instance, a social engineer might email you a message from an authority, like the IRS, to get you to immediately agree to the request without questioning the validity of the sender or the information. Further, a social engineer might play on the power that’s created when you like a person and might friend request you on Facebook while posing as a celebrity or attractive individual.
When you’re aware of the most common attacks, you’ll be better prepared to spot them and avoid them. Some common techniques include phishing, where an engineer sends you a fraudulent email, or impersonation, where an engineer pretends to be someone you know to manipulate you. As you gain notoriety as a musician, keep these attacks in mind and be extra careful when navigating the internet.
Protecting Your Music
Hackers may target your music, so you’ll need to focus on ways to protect the pieces that are in progress as well as the pieces that you’ve released online. To protect and secure your songs, start by creating a backup of everything so that, even if a hacker gets to one source, you’ll still have those songs in a second secure location. Password protect all of your work to add another level of protection and to keep your songs secure.
You may also want to consult with a legal professional who can help you to take appropriate steps if your music is ever compromised. A lawyer can help you to protect your published songs so that you’re legally prepared just in case something ever does happen and someone steals, copies, or otherwise takes your material.
Speaking of published music, if your music is available for streaming, then you’ll need to take additional measures to protect it. Cybersecurity is vital to streaming services, since hacks are common and frequent, and they often target small businesses that are just starting to become profitable. To protect yourself, use a reputable streaming service and complete all of the security updates that the service requests. It’s also a good idea to choose a paid streaming service, which may offer more security and protection than you’ll find in a free service.
Protecting Your Brand
Hackers won’t only target your music — they’ll also target your brand and even your reputation. If a hacker is able to get ahold of your social media accounts or even your website, they can lock you out of these accounts, post off-brand or offensive content, and generally harm your reputation. In fact, major celebrities including Taylor Swift and Mark Zuckerberg have had their Instagram and Facebook accounts hacked, respectively, with the hackers posting strange content on their walls. And, if hackers gain access to your financial information, they can potentially gain access to your bank account and credit card information.
To protect yourself, use randomly generated passwords that are difficult for a hacker to crack. Store these passwords in a secure location and never use the same password for multiple sites. Keeping track of dozens of passwords is tough, which is why a credible password manager can help to make having all these passwords more practical.
As a musician, you’ll need to take multiple steps to protect yourself from cyber attacks and the trouble that can come with them. Remember that as you become more of a public figure and gain more attention, the chance of your being targeted in cyber attacks increases, so take the time to increase your cybersecurity early on in your career.