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Four ways to streamline your cyber security

Apple's recent security scare reminds us how important it is to stay alert. Thankfully, there are some painless - and free - ways to make life harder for hackers.

By Sally Spicer

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Apple's recent security scare reminds us how important it is to stay alert. Thankfully, there are some painless - and free - ways to make life harder for hackers.

By Sally Spicer

Last week, Apple sent out a warning to users to update their iPhones urgently. Hackers, they warned, had found two security vulnerabilities which could be used to take full control of devices. 

But it’s not just Apple users who can take action to tighten up their cyber security. Consumers lost a record $2 billion to scammers last year – more than double the previous year. 

Future Women’s Senior Content Producer Sally Spicer recently sat down with cyber security expert Alastair MacGibbon, the Chief Strategy Officer for CyberCX and former National Cyber Security Adviser & Head of Australian Cyber Security Centre.

An unexpected side effect of Covid-19, MacGibbon shared on FW Live, has been a boon for scammers.

‘Think about yourself, where perhaps a couple of years ago you’d be sitting in an office now. And instead, you’re probably still at home,’ he said. 

‘We rely on these devices even more, and we’re multitasking in this really crowded sort of way.’

So, whether you’ve got an iPhone or not, here are four ways you can strengthen your cyber security right now.

1

Use a password protection app

Given that the average internet user has around 100 passwords, it’s worth considering an app to do the heavy lifting.

A password protection app stores all of your passwords in an encrypted database so you don’t need to remember them all. It also generates highly secure passwords, making it difficult for hackers to guess them.

Two security cameras are seen attached to a blue brick wall.
2

Turn on multi-factor authentication

If you use social media, you’ve probably already heard the phrase. MacGibbon says it’s one of the most straightforward ways to safeguard your online accounts. Multi-factor authentication is a process whereby a user needs to take two or more steps to gain access to their account. Most commonly, this includes a password or PIN and a code sent to your phone or email. 

‘It doesn’t make it bulletproof,’ he told Sally Spicer. ‘But it reduces the likelihood of a criminal being able to take over our devices.

3

Delete all scams and spam

Whether it’s stringing them along for the fun of it or replying with a sassy takedown, it can be tempting to engage the scammers flooding your inbox.  But the best thing to do, according to MacGibbon, is ignore, delete and report. 

‘If you ever engage with a scammer, it just confirms to them that you’ve read it,’ he said. ‘And they’ll just keep trying to come at you.’

MacGibbon also revealed that 90 percent of all emails are scams. The more you know, hey?

4

Encourage your children to be open about cyber security issues they face

The average child gets their first phone between the ages of eight and twelve – and while this allows parents to stay in touch, it comes with heightened risks. 

Throughout his career, MacGibbon has found one tactic most effective at both teaching and protecting children. 

‘My number one thing is to tell the child that there is nothing that they’ve ever done that is so bad that they can’t talk to you about it,’ he stated.

’That might sound like pretty crazy advice. But the reason for that is, I deal with child sex offenders, and they’re much worse than scammers. And child sex offenders use the wedge, usually between the victim and their family by saying if your family knows what you’ve done, you’re going to rip them apart well, so you’re making the victim into now, someone who feels like they’ve got to carry this guilt.’

This conversation with Alastair MacGibbon was initially broadcast on Future Women’s Members-Only Facebook group as part of our FW Live series, speaking with thought-leaders about noteworthy and newsworthy topics.

Interested in a career change in cyber security? Apply for the CyberCX Training Academy today.