It was interesting to attend a cybersecurity event at aql last night. There was quite range of topics discussed, but the focal point was cybersecurity in Yorkshire & Humberside.
The talks were given by Stuart Hyde, retired Chief Police Officer and cybersecurity expert, and Helen Gibson, researcher in cybersecurity at Sheffield Hallam University.
This event speaks to a concern that people don’t take their own online security seriously.
Cybercrime has hit the media headlines recently, but with lots of misinformation spreading around.
There’s a lack of real awareness of the practical steps that businesses and individuals can take to secure themselves online.
Research by Centric
Research by the University of Sheffield Hallam’s Centric team in collaboration with aql shows that the residents of Yorkshire and Humberside are about as likely to end up the victim of cybercrime as they are a ‘real life’ crime.
They work with the police in an attempt to prevent future crime. Their thinking is that if cybercrime statistics are related to a concrete sense of locality, this will result in people becoming more likely to take their own cybersecurity seriously.
It prevents the individual from dismissing the prospect of becoming a victim of a cybercrime, in thinking that it can only happen to people in London, for example.
Internet of Things and people
We are collecting more and more data about ourselves and the Internet of Things is expanding rapidly, but people are hardly better educated about cybersecurity.
It’s predicted that in the future there will be 6 connected devices per person.
This statistic is chilling when viewed in relation to the recent DDoS attack on Dyn. A botnet powered by the IoT was used to bring down one of the web’s major servers. People in the US couldn’t access Twitter for a whole day!
The IoT is expanding the surface of connectivity and the links in the chain through which cybercriminals can exploit networks.
This means that the issue of cybersecurity is becoming ever more urgent.
Staying safe online
The concept of staying safe online is disconnected from staying safe in real life.
You’d take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of normal crime, such as avoiding walking through dark alleys at night, looking after your bag in a busy street, or locking your front door.
In contrast, most people don’t think of using a secure password for each of their online accounts, using a spam filter for their email inbox or ensuring they have an antivirus installed.
The likelihood of you becoming the victim of a cybercrime is about half the chance of you falling victim to any other crime, which is a relatively high percentage.
So, there are many things you can due to secure your online presence.
Internet of Things and business
However, you can’t control the behaviour of organisations or companies who hold your data, as demonstrated by the recent TalkTalk and Tesco fiascos.
It also has a impact on business when you think that 22% of small businesses don’t know where to start when it comes to cybersecurity.
The productivity of many companies relies on online services such as social media platforms and website hosts, and yet they’re relatively relaxed about the security of their passwords.
Professional and personal life blur as employees are encouraged to use their own devices at work, raising more security risks.
Many smaller companies are unaware of their responsibilities towards data compliance for their customers, and risk not only exposing their customers’ data but also breaking the law.
The risk of cybercrime
The research shows that there are 2.3 normal crimes per business per year in Yorkshire & Humberside, while there is 1 cybercrime per business per year.
And yet, businesses aren’t taking adequate precautions.
You must assess your whole business for cybersecurity, and engage in activities such as protecting your networks from attack, adopting user security policies, establish anti-malware defences and creating a procedure for dealing with any cybercrime incidents.
You can also join CiSP, which is a free government platform providing access to information on the latest threats and risks in cybersecurity. It provides the resources you need to help protect your company against cyber attacks.
As an individual, you can start by using a secure password for all of your online accounts, including both numbers and letters. Be wary when making friends online, because it can lead to scams such as ransoming indecent pictures of you.
Most importantly, educate yourself about the risks and familiarise yourself with common cybercrime tactics. Cybercrime can happen to anyone – even in Yorkshire & Humberside!
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Check out my previous post on Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things and SaaS.