Five Things Your Mum Never Taught You About Cybersecurity

Sure, we learned how to cross a busy road, but can we safely navigate the information super highway?
Five Things Your Mum Never Taught You About Cybersecurity

A lot of us grew up in a time when staying safe online meant avoiding dodgy chatrooms and not using ‘password1’ as your MySpace login. And let's be honest, your mum wasn't usually the one to pass on that sort of advice anyway. While being smart about passwords still applies, the way we communicate and do business today makes cybersecurity know-how essential - something akin to Mum’s ‘don’t run with scissors’. Here are five things you should know:

  1. This is someone’s full-time job. Ever wondered what it might be like to wake up and, while sipping your coffee, get creative about how you’re going to cause some misery today? We won’t go down the rabbit hole of why these individuals exist, but just remember they do, and they are looking for easy targets. Let’s try not to be one.

  1. They’ll kick you when you’re down. According to there are multiple accounts of scammers taking advantage of previous cyber attack victims, acting as technical support or some sort of aid in helping you recover, with the intention of squeezing more out of you in a weakened state. Ouch.

  1. Don’t be so polite. This one may be a direct contradiction to what Mum taught us, but the idea of saying no to, or asking for extra information from, someone over the phone may make us a bit uncomfortable. Isn’t that rude? Well, so is having your bank account emptied. A genuine professional working with customers over the phone will be aware of the dangers of handling sensitive information and often be able to offer you an alternative way of moving forward with the process.

  1. They know more than you think. Data is a new kind of currency, and criminals can glean a lot from social media accounts. It sure got a lot of likes, but it’s good to be aware of what that last post may have shared about your location, interests, and relatives. Data brokers exist that buy and sell all types of customer data. And often, for a very small fee, those with malicious intent can access it. They also have the expertise to take advantage of any sensitive data that leaks onto the Dark Web. Armed with this array of information, scammers can be all the more convincing in persuading you to release data or money to them.

  1. Have a plan. Well, maybe Mum told you this one, but especially for businesses, adopting a cybersecurity-focused cycle where you audit, plan, implement and then monitor your results is a good idea. We know all those terms are about a zero on the exciting-buzz-word-o-metre, but it means you have the best chance of keeping up-to-date with current criminal tactics and making sure you’re following essential best practices.

Chat with Pastel if you have any concerns about your current cybersecurity status. And call your mum, she misses you. 

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