Malou: I see two trends in particular increasing cyberrisks going forward:
- During the pandemic, businesses have been forced to move their operations online, and some estimate that the overall digital transformation was sped up by two years in the first two months of the global lockdown. Many changes are here for the long haul and with so many activities that have moved online, there is a greater risk that cybercriminals will take advantage of breaches in internet safety. According to the UAE Government Cyber Security, the UAE saw a 250% increase in cyberattacks in the first year of the pandemic.
- As a result of 5G increasing the bandwidth of connected devices, more and more smart devices will be added to the internet, referred to as IoT. From safety things to medical things, to transportation things, to environmental things, all these things create many wonderful opportunities, but they also make societies more vulnerable to cyber-attacks making the need for a strong cybersecurity platform even more crucial.
Malou: Obviously, education is always an important path for positive change. That said we can’t place all responsibility on the education system and the users of technology. The responsibility also lies with the tech companies to act ethically and develop and keep updating their practices to ensure they come up to the highest data protection standards. My general advice is that people use their common sense and become critical consumers when it comes to choosing the technologies and platforms they trust and want to use.
Malou: I am happy to share the tips that I am following. They come from my colleagues in IT:
1. Diversify your use of passwords even if it is a hassle. Just do it.
E.g. at least 12 characters, collections of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters
2. Use and make sure to update your antivirus software when needed
3. Restart your computer every day to make ensure your operating systems are always up to date
4. Avoid oversharing your screen
During online meetings, be cautious when sharing your screen. If possible, don’t leave any windows open that you don’t want to share. You might accidentally share content that is not meant to be viewed by others.
5. Beware of phishing
Internet criminals have widely exploited the COVID-19 outbreak in numerous scam campaigns. If you get emails with suspicious links or attachments related to COVID-19, don’t open them, just delete.
6. Do not acquire work-related IT equipment without an agreement with your own organization
7. Only use the IT applications (e.g. for online meetings) provided by your organization