Digital Security: Smelly phish and other online goggas
By Sodi U McHloride
“They” are out to get you. Seriously. Between the Nigerian princes, Russian mobsters, angry ex-employees, and the pasty, clever-dick teenage hacker down the street, your online presence puts you at risk. All the time. According to a 2007 study by the University of Maryland, a computer is attacked in one way or another every 39 seconds. (1) That was 13 years ago. The latest estimations has it somewhere around once every 21 seconds.
The more digitally connected we become, the more incentive sophisticated data breaches, phishing and ransomware attackers, viruses and malware-criminals have to increase and smarten up their activities. Getting your Facebook account hacked is far more dangerous than the mere frustration or embarrassment – for starters, interconnected Apps opens the door for criminals to steal your identity and your credit card details.
Cybersecurity Ventures calculated that, “The damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.” (2) This staggering figure makes cybercrime by far the most expensive illicit industry in the world. US$6 trillion (that is a six with 12 zeros) is 413 times the total GDP of Namibia… Let that sink in for a bit.
To add insult to injury, Interpol has recorded a sharp increase in phishing, fraud and ransomware attacks during this year’s rapid deployment of remote systems and networks to support staff working from home. And it’s not only individuals and small businesses – major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure are also hit hard and more often.
Long story short: Cybercrime can wipe out your business far quicker and more dramatically than any coronavirus can.
If your business does not have a strong defence constructed against a cyber-attack, be prepared to pay. Pay to find the problem, pay to fix it, pay to update systems so it doesn’t happen again, pay to compensate those negatively affected and pay to rebuild your trust relationship with your customers. The SANS Institute calculated that this exercise cost the average American company US$1.6 million. (3) I don’t know of many Namibian companies with that kind of cash laying around, do you?
Your employees are your last line of defence
Clearly, cybercrime is prevalent and damaging. And while many successful attacks on well-defended systems are the work of very smart, dedicated criminals, in most cases we let them in!
The most common way to get hacked is a phishing attempt send to your email or mobile phone. It might look exactly like a message from your bank, lawyer or company, but sometimes it takes only one click to compromise the whole system. Silly, common passwords and/or unlocked devices are a close second in the certain-ways-to-get-hacked awards. There is no defence better than properly trained and vigilant employees.
There is hope.
Salt Essential IT, in partnership with Microsoft’s ATP Phishing Simulator, is offering a free trail to any business that’s serious about keeping their (and their customer’s) information safe. Click on the phishing banner to apply for a free trial. There is no obligation to buy anything. The trial is free, gratis and verniet.
Can you really afford not to?
What else can I do?
- Don’t click on links in suspicious emails!
- First, and most important thing: Choose proper passwords on all your platforms and accounts. Make up nonsensical strings with letters, numbers and special characters. Change these passwords regularly. If you need advice on saving all these logins and passwords securely so you don’t forget it, contact us for assistance.
- Wherever possible (which is most platforms and accounts), make use of two-factor authentication. If you don’t know what this is, contact us for assistance. Use the little pop-up messenger app on the bottom right of this screen.