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Being Cyber-Smart


14 – 18 October 2019 is Cyber Smart Week. If you’re hanging on to the attitude regarding internet security that “she’ll be right” and “it won’t happen to me” or “I don’t need that” you could be right. Until you are not.


You may feel, as a private citizen or even a business owner, that your information is not of any value to anyone else and therefore neglect to educate yourself or protect your devices and data from any threats. There are thousands of people in New Zealand that thought the same and now know otherwise. They have been scammed, stolen from, embarrassed, held to ransom and threatened, which has not only caused loss of productivity through wasted time but also a loss of money, in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars.


The number of cyber attacks, identity thefts, ransomware demands, internet hoaxes and phishing attacks have risen alarmingly over the past year. As the devices of the world become more connected and critical infrastructure and physical assets are controlled and managed by those sensors and devices, the requirement to understand how cyber attacks can affect businesses and individuals is becoming more urgent.


Many scams are low tech and rely on the victim (you!) supplying seemingly innocuous information or details which on their own seem quite trivial but when aggregated with other information can be quite damaging.


Think very carefully about the information you are providing on social platforms. Consider Facebook. You’ve commented on or even shared a post that lists all the months of the year and states what people born in that month are getting for their birthday. Let’s say you share it with your friend Lucy and comment, “Haha you’re getting nothing, but I’m getting a million dollars!”. This post can bypass your security settings and scammers are able to gather your name, your birth month and Lucy’s name and birth month. They can save that information and use their technology to match it with other data gathered from another post, another platform, another scam. They can sell it on the dark web along with credit card details that have been gathered from online businesses with less than adequate security. They’re playing a long game.


Think about what the information you post on social media and the sites you follow reveals about you. If you’re following a Bank its likely your own. There are posts or games that ask you to reveal your mother’s maiden name, your first school, the road in which you first lived – they’re all Bank security questions!


Check what’s publicly viewable about you on the web and answer a very simple question “Could someone complete a loan or credit card application from the information that is accessible?”


If you are a business and do not protect the details you have in your client files, including emails, from access by unauthorised parties, you also run the risk of financial loss and reputational harm.


Have a chat with Stratus Blue about how best to protect yourself, your technology and your data from malicious attacks – from ground to cloud.

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