Cyber-attack is real so plan accordingly

“Cyber-attack is real so plan accordingly“ sound like words from some software vendor trying to flog their product. However, they are part of a key recommendation from the FMA in their recently released report ‘Cyber-resilience in financial services‘. This report does not mince words. The FMA is urging all financial services companies to up their game with regards to making their businesses ‘safe’ from cyber-attacks.

Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent, and they can affect anyone. It’s not just large organisations or businesses who are affected — small businesses and everyday New Zealanders are at risk too. Many of these attacks aren’t targeting anyone specifically but are looking for easy ways to get money or information. CERT NZs 2018 summary threat landscape report shows a 205% increase in reported incidents from 2017.

Here are four ways to prevent you or your business being the target of an attack:

1. Use a password manager

It’s really important that your passwords are different and strong, but it can be hard to remember them all.

The easiest way to remember them and keep them secure is to use a password manager. It’s like an online safe that stores and manages your passwords for you. You’ll only have to remember the one master password for your password manager, and it’ll do the rest.

Set up a password manager

2. Turn on two-factor authentication

Turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) to your login process is an effective way of adding an extra layer of security to your accounts.

It’s a simple extra step after you log in, such as entering a code from an app. You can enable 2FA on most of your online accounts, and on your devices. You’ll usually find the option to turn it on in the privacy settings.

Turn on two-factor authentication

3. Update your devices

When you're alerted to a new software version for your device, don’t ignore it — install it as soon as possible. Updates add new features and fix issues or vulnerabilities that attackers could use to gain access to your information. 

Set the updates to happen automatically whenever a new version is available — then you don’t have to think about it!

Update your software

4. Check your privacy

To protect your privacy online, it’s important to know what you're sharing and who you're sharing it with. Attackers could use your information to try and access your data or steal your identity.

Check that requests for personal information are legitimate before you give any details. If a company or business asks you for information, think about why they might need it. If you’re not sure it's necessary, don’t provide it.

Protect your privacy

Report it

If you, your friend, or your business does experience an online incident, report it to CERT NZ. It is a government agency that helps New Zealanders identify their issues and guides them in resolving them.

Your report is confidential, but the lessons from it can be shared with other New Zealanders. This helps raise their awareness of cyber security and helps them understand how to protect themselves from incidents such as yours.

Report an issue

(Article published with approval of CERT NZ)