Five ways to dodge the hacking threat

“Don’t risk it all until it is too late.”

This is a warning from cyber security expert Michiel Bekker. He discussed the topic of cyber security with this publication after a Mpumalanga-based woman had lost thousands due to hacking. The source of this information was a public Facebook post that had since been deleted. The post did not identify the victim.

The scenario seem almost surreal. The woman was purchasing a home and had to pay more than R200 000 into her conveyancing attorney’s bank account. When an e-mail with the conveyancer’s banking details and the amount due arrived in her inbox, she made payment accordingly. It soon came to light that she had transferred thousands into the bank account of a fraudster who misrepresented himself as the attorney.

This criminal had somehow intercepted the woman’s communication with the entities involved.

The incident proved that anyone can be a victim of cybercrime. Hackers do not focus exclusively on large corporations or rich people. Average Joes are equally at risk and no web can afford to be clueless about it.

Phishing e-mails describes mails that seem to be from a bank or professional institution and ask for your personal information. A good rule of thumb is to refrain from sharing your personal information in e-mails or online. Never provide any passwords or banking details to anyone via e-mail.

According to Bekker, web users must be aware of the nature and extent of cyber threats and how to mitigate them. If the techie lingo confuses you, invest in specialist advice.

He shares safety five tips for web users.

  • Tip 1: Keep passwords safe and secure. Don’t reuse passwords and do not use passwords that are easy to guess.
  • Tip 2: Know how to spot fake and phishing e-mails (the scenario above is an example).
  • Tip 3: Protect your mobile devices with strong access codes and enable remote deletion of content when a device is stolen or lost.
  • Tip 4: Install a reputable antivirus that updates often. According to Bekker, Bitdefender that comes with Windows is sufficient if it is set to update automatically.
  • Tip 5: Be sure to use legitimate software. Don’t install applications and programs that you are not familiar with or that have been cracked (this describes the modification or manipulation of software.)

* Bekker is consulting manager with cs-it.

Source: Capricorn Review