Let’s face facts: people hear the words “cyber security” and they automatically groan and complain “I don’t have time for that”. Alas! Fear not. In these seven everyday scenarios, you will see how you can become a pioneer at being more cyber aware in your home and work environments. Picture this scene…
Leaving the house for work and you check your phone - a new friend request on Facebook! Do you remember Hannah who says she used to work with you? Odd that she hasn’t had the time to select a profile picture yet.
Phew! You managed to get a seat on the train in the morning rush hour and even better, the Wi-Fi is working today! Why are there two Wi-Fi networks with the same name? And why do you have to log in for one but not the other?
The Director has sent out the weekly company Cyber Security blog. Don't delete it – try reading it! Did you know that there are, on average, 1400 attacks on a single organisation every week? So go ahead and read that blog, it just might come in handy.
Heading out to the city centre for lunch and look - you just got a text from HMRC about a refund. Everyone loves a tax rebate! And they’ve even texted you a handy web link which directs you right to the payment page so you can enter your bank account information. Funny that your co-worker recently received a tax rebate as well, but she received a letter in the post.
You make a quick dash to the door so you can catch the train home. But you see someone waiting outside the building – he says he left his mobile phone at his desk and can’t get back in because he left his access pass at home. He doesn’t look very familiar … maybe you should ask him what office he works in.
Your friend Maria just messaged you – her favourite online shop is having a surprise 50% sale! Better create an account quickly so you don't miss out. But don't just use the same password for your other accounts because it's easy to remember. For the sake of a few extra minutes, create a different (and secure!) password. If your password is cracked, someone could gain access to your payment information.
Time for bed. Make sure you accept the anti-virus software update on your laptop before shutting it down for the night.
Ultimately, these types of scenarios have happened to all of us at one point or another. I was excited at the prospect of a second tax rebate within the space of a year and a half but then common sense kicked in. And that’s the key here – common sense. All it takes is a few extra seconds to think before clicking an email link, accepting a friend request or even just letting someone through the office door. The individuals or groups who are targeting you – and, let's be honest, they are targeting you – are hoping that you are on auto-pilot. They depend on you ignoring the warning signs and thus, setting yourself up as the weakest link because any of these events can occur in your personal and your working environments.
Be sure to remain vigilant at work, too. Did you know that the majority of data breaches are caused by human error? Read our blog 8 Data Breaches Caused by Human Error and you’ll see just how much of an impact an employee’s mistake can make. As employees, we have a responsibility to protect our company, its data and reputation. Regularly update your passwords, consult with your IT department if you receive a suspicious email and keep an eye on your laptop if you are working remotely. While these are all seemingly “ordinary” things to do, they are what will strengthen your ability to mitigate risk.
My advice: remain alert and never ignore the warning signs. Always trust your gut – if you see a pop up on your company desktop to say your firewall has been compromised, contact your IT support team. Or you receive a text from your mobile network to say your monthly bill is overdue, pick up the phone and call them to double check your account. Ensure that you use the resources that are available to you should you doubt the validity of any communications you receive.
Cyber security threats are rifer than ever – so don’t get caught in the 9-5 trap.