Cyber Crime

I am involved in a Cyber Security Awareness Conference taking place on 23 March 2017 at CEME Conference Centre, Marsh Way, Havering, RM13 8EU. Of course, cyber crime and security is not my specialist subject, I’m an HR Professional and Coach and there is an HR aspect to the conference. There is another reason (or reasons, to be perfectly correct) that I’m involved in this.

People who know me personally will know that I am very careful about my personal security. And by personal security, I don’t just mean the physical side of things, there is very little you can do when someone rides on a pavement on a scooter and then drags you along the road until they get your handbag. I mean, I don’t advertise my full date of birth on social media, I don’t use the same password on every site I use and I certainly don’t use the password “password.” I like the sites where I can use special characters as well as numbers and capitals. I insist on checking ‘phone numbers and ringing back when banks, etc, ring me, because I won’t give out personal information when I don’t know to whom I’m talking. So no-one was more surprised than me when I had my identity stolen as couple of years ago. I read on the internet that it takes six months and 200 hours of work to sort it out, and that is about right, in my experience. However, I was very, very lucky. I caught it quickly enough, and I didn’t lose any money.

Six months later, one of my credit cards was fraudulently used, even though it was in my handbag at the time. Ten grands worth of fraudulent activity, so the bank told me, but they blocked the transaction and cancelled the card. A minor inconvenience, but far better than the alternative.

So I started to use one card for online transactions and another for physical purchases. That worked well until I got my bill this week. A less ambitious transaction of around six hundred quid on the online card. I have no idea how or where the person or persons concerned got my details. I don’t recall using any dodgy sites. Most of my online shopping is on Amazon or Tesco, with a bit on Debenhams and few shoes sites. (Yes, I still love my shoes.) That one is still under investigation, and I will be more than a bit miffed if I don’t get the money back.

Another thing. This blog site, which, to be honest, doesn’t have many followers, and certainly doesn’t make me any money (which, frankly, begs a question) was subject to a cyber attack a few weeks ago – over 700 attacks in a 12 hour period. I sat at my computer watching the emails come through telling me what was happening and I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do. I set up a rule to put all the emails in one folder and got on with my day and eventually it stopped. Whoever was doing it had a very sophisticated system, the attacks were coming from all over the world. But what I didn’t and don’t get is: What was the point? They didn’t get any money out of it. I’m not famous. And they didn’t get into my site. What was the point?

I may never know that, but what I do know is this:

• Cyber Crime cost each UK resident £210 in 2015 and that figure is set to rise on an annual basis.
• 39% of victims do not report cyber crime (I didn’t report the attack on this site. I had no idea to whom I should have reported it.)
• 93% of cyber attacks on business are directly linked to a lack of staff awareness and training.
• Only 6% of global IT spend is aimed at staff training and development.
• Employees are the main target of cyber crime due to threats from phishing and social engineering.

What should you do?

• Watch this space for more details about the conference on 23 March 2017. I’ll be posting more about it over the coming weeks as details unfold.
• Don’t open email attachments, especially if you don’t know the sender.
• Don’t use free wi-fi in cafés etc, it’s not secure and it can even allow viruses into Macs. (They tell me that they don’t get viruses and I am still not convinced.)
• Change your passwords often.
• If someone sends you an email to tell you that they have changed their bank account, speak to them to verify it. There have been way too many cases of people losing money this way.

© Susan Shirley 2016