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Chris Hails (NetSafe)

Connect Smart: Don’t wait until it’s too late!

A phone call to NetSafe this morning from a PC user facing the loss of a year’s worth of data serves as a timely reminder that taking a proactive approach to computer security is essential when ransomware gangs and other cybercrimials are actively targeted out of date software or unpatched computers.

The computer owner had actually taken the time to back up important business files, but sadly found the USB backup had also been encrypted with CryptoWall ransomware as it was still attached to the infected machine.

With complex malware being able to ‘jump across’ to back up locations – including cloud based services like Dropbox – the onus is on every computer user to protect themselves online and store several copies of essential data, ideally in separate locations.

Last week, international law enforcement agencies took down the network behind CryptoLocker ransomware but it would appear other malware writers are moving in to grab a share of the market.

Connect Smart Week is coming

Next week marks the start of the new government initiative, Connect Smart. This rebranded Cyber Security Awareness Week for 2014 will highlight ways home internet users and SMEs can protect themselves from phishing attacks and malware infections and will be launched in Wellington.

TechSecurity-2NetSafe will be promoting the week and my colleague Lee will be speaking at a free to attend cybercrime event in Wellington on 18 June along with other computer security experts.

The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is hosting the event which starts at 6pm at Queen Margaret College, 53 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington. More information can be found on the IPENZ website.

Protect yourself online: secure all devices

The recent high profile ‘hack’ of some iPhone owners’ iCloud accounts by ‘Oleg Pliss’ is another reminder of how essential it is to apply good computers security practices to all your connected devices.

NetSafe recently published guidance on smartphone security with 12 Tips for Protecting Your Digital Device as evidence is emerging of new variants of ransom malware now being developed for Android smartphones and tablets.

Whilst news media reported yesterday that Russian authorities may have caught the ransom gang behind the Apple ID hack, it’s essential that New Zealanders use Connect Smart Week as an opportunity to review their online safety and security.

Chris Hails (NetSafe)

Teach a man to phish and…

Phishing is in the news again with Apple ID hacks and messages targeting PayPal account holders. Could you tell the difference between a genuine security alert and a well crafted ‘phish’?

Chris Hails (NetSafe)

Don’t want your iPhone or iPad ‘hacked’? Why unique passwords are so important for online security

There are preventative steps you can take right now to protect your Apple ID: Backing up your devices, adding extra security information to your Apple account and avoiding Apple phishing emails should help secure your iPhone or iPad

Chris Hails (NetSafe)

If “antivirus is dead” what next for computer security?

Symantec, the pioneers behind Norton anti-virus software, have made a bold statement this week declaring it to be “doomed to failure”, only catching around 45% of cyberattacks. If AV is no longer a security ‘forcefield’, what can the average internet user do then to stay safe and secure online?

Chris Hails (NetSafe)

Upcoming events we’re attending

Here are a selection of events over the next few months that NetSafe staff will be attending, presenting at, taking part in or supporting with a variety of stakeholder or partner organisations. We’d love to see you there.