Friday 13 January 2017

Slip, Slop, Slap Cybersecurity

by Ricki Burke

Slip, Slop, Slap was the slogan of a famously successful campaign in Australia and New Zealand to raise the awareness for the public to protect themselves against the increased risk of skin cancer. Protecting yourself against the sun (Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat) may seem like standard actions to many of us now but this was launched by Cancer Council Victoria in 1981.

Fast forward 30 plus years and there is a new threat which appears have caught people unaware, Cybersecurity. We are vulnerable at work, home and in public but the problem is, only a small minority seem to know this.

Recently I was on the train and sat next to someone doing online banking on their laptop. I'm a curious person, (thankfully not mischievous) and was able to see a lot of information I shouldn't have. Fortunately for that person I had no ill intentions, but if I did, he could have had a bad day. 

One of the biggest weaknesses any organisation has, is its people. A staff member could innocently click on a bad link and suddenly your whole network could be at the mercy of ransomware. This is one common problem found within the working environment. There are too many examples to list. But, what happens when someone is still working whilst travelling on the train or working from a café and dealing with confidential information?

At home, you or your family could be online, shopping or posting information innocently without taking the necessary measures to protect themselves. The problem is that hardly anyone knows what measures to take. And, whose job is it help raise awareness to the wider public?

The lack of public awareness is not just a local problem but a global one. When I searched #CyberAware I was pleasantly surprised to see a Twitter account from UK based Leicestershire Police, @leicscyberaware.

The advice may seem simple to those in the Infosec or IT world, but if you’re not from this environment how would you know what steps to take? I think there is a general misconception that emails, published sites or apps available to download on phones will be safe. As if there is some sort of regulation of what is can be made available online…

I think that the responsibility to raise awareness does not lie with one organisation or authority, but instead we could all take more of an active role in providing education. If organisations can really start teaching their employees to be more #CyberAware at work, then they, in turn take that home to educate their families or those around them. We need a collaborative effort across government, councils, education providers, authorities and corporations.

A memorable TV ad worked in the 80’s for skin cancer. How do we now communicate this growing threat to the masses?

This post has been written by Ricki Burke who kindly provided his time to contribute to the AWSN blog.

Ricki is an Information Security recruiter with Interpro and has over 5 years experience in the IT industry. He has supported organisations globally, providing them with talent with niche skills. In total, he has spent over 10 years working to understand business needs, recruitment consulting and building relationships. He is actively looking to make a difference within the industry and is a Co-Founder of Cyber Security Career Kick Start, a free event for students to gain knowledge and practical steps to get their first job within Information Security. Plus, he is partnering with networking groups such as AWSN to help promote diversity.

 This post has been written by Ricki Burke and & published by A Turner  on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2016

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