Protect your data online


8th October, 2018

4 ways to protect your identity online this Cyber Smart Week

This week is CERT NZ’s Cyber Smart Week, which means it’s a great time to brush up on some security basics to better protect yourself, your business and your customers.

Over a million New Zealanders lost over $177 million through cyber crime in 2017.

So what about small businesses?

According to the MBIE, NZ has 499,944 small businesses and 349,960 (70 percent) of them have no employees. Small business also contributes 29 percent of NZ GDP and employs over 600,000 people, so it’s a very important part of the economy.

Symantec NZ Security Briefing (2017) reports 24 percent of small businesses were hit by cyber crime (versus 18 percent in 2016), however 18 percent of businesses still have no internet security of any sort (and 31 percent of those think cyber security isn’t a priority).

Let’s put the risk to our businesses into perspective: 24 percent equates to almost 120,000 cyber attacks on small businesses in 2017.

Some of what you to protect yourself and your business is easy and free. Take a minute to read CERT’s advice and take action this Cyber Smart week to derisk yourself and your business.

READ: Is your business a soft target for hackers?

Check yourself out online this Cyber Smart Week

Many cyber attacks don’t target a specific individual or organisation. Instead, attackers look for easy ways to find information online that they can use to their advantage. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.

Unfortunately, this information can be found in lots of ways. Personal information like email addresses and passwords get swiped in data breaches, and can later end up posted online. People also often share private information thinking that no-one but their friends will be interested.

As we move more of the things we care about online, we need to think about how we can better protect it. In the same way that we hide our valuables and lock our car, we also need to prevent our valuable photos and documents from being stolen or damaged.

The good news is you can protect your online self by doing a few simple things. The basic idea is that the more difficult it is to access information about you, the less likely a cyber attack will affect you.

This Cyber Smart Week, take a couple of simple actions to protect your online self.

1. Use unique passwords

Creating unique passwords for your online accounts is one of the most effective ways you can secure your online self.

So, this Cyber Smart Week, check your online accounts and make sure each one has a unique password. If you find that you’ve reused a password on an account, change it to something new. And if you think you need some help remembering them all, set up a password manager.

2. Turn on 2FA

Adding two-factor authentication (2FA) to your login process is a simple way to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.

Take some time this week to set up 2FA on your apps and accounts. Then relax in the knowledge that your personal information is much safer thanks to one small change.

READ: Why two-factor authentication is so important

3. Update your apps

When you’re alerted to an update for one of your apps, don’t ignore it — install it as soon as possible. Updates aren’t just about adding new features. They’re also about fixing vulnerabilities that attackers can use to gain access to your information.

Make an appointment to check up on your apps this week. Install any updates that are waiting, and get rid of anything you don’t need. Your online self will thank you for it.

4. Check your privacy

It’s important to be aware of how much of your online self you’re sharing, and with whom. That means both the info you choose to share yourself, and the info you’re asked to share by the companies you have online accounts with.

We’re so used to sharing things online that we don’t really think about how it affects our privacy anymore. It’s really easy to find out things like your pet’s name, where you went to school, where you work, and even when you’re away on holiday.

This Cyber Smart Week, take some time to look at your online connections and what you choose to share with them.