The 12 Days of Cyber Christmas: a cautionary tale in the digital age of ‘smart’ devices

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The holidays are nearly with us and everyone is surely looking forward to a rest. Well not everyone, because while you chill out, the fraudsters are still hard at work finding new ways to share your digital life.

So here are our 12 cyber trends and tips to keep you digitally safe for the holidays.

Trends

  • Home automation. Don’t let your smart fridge collude with your smart TV to attack your smart oven so you can’t roast your (analogue) turkey. Be mindful of security around your smart home, so secure the perimeter.
  • Going paperless. If you go paperless in 2017 don’t throw your paper waste in the regular bin without shredding thoroughly so your information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. This practice is known as “dumpster diving”.
  • New toys. Getting your Bunnings snag with your new drone is a no go. There are some changes in legislation upon us, such as when, where and who can fly a drone. Mandatory breach reporting is now being seriously considered by parliament.

Identity theft

Information on your social media accounts, especially Facebook, can be used to replicate your identity online.

Some tips to prevent this from happening:

  • Keep yourself to yourself and change your settings and (past) posts to private so no one can access them without your permission.
  • Don’t talk to strangers. We all love to have new friends and drive up our number of followers on social media but don’t accept people who you don’t personally know as friends on Facebook. This helps avoid potential phishing strategies by criminals who attempt to masquerade as a trustworthy entity i.e. by adding you as a friend.
  • Don’t be found out by fraudsters. Make sure you are not searchable on Facebook by your mobile number or email address.

Holiday food for thought

  • Share cautiously. Don’t re-post everything you see on social, as surprisingly it is not all true. And; be more cautious about the holiday pictures and information you are posting on your accounts – once it goes onto social media it never comes down.
  • Be Scrooge like with your money. Over the holidays, think about whether you would give away your physical wallet as easily as online payment information? Does that make sense?
  • Free loading. Maybe you’ll get some free rides as recently, San Francisco’s transport system was held to ransom (100 bitcoin) in a cyber attack giving passengers free rides for Thanksgiving. But if this happens here during the festive season keep you ticket handy as free loading on public transport can get you in a lot of trouble

Mobile malware

Recent mobile malware dramas like Gooligan on Android phones and Locky Ransomware via Facebook messenger inspire us to do the following:

  • End-to-end encryption services offered by Facebook and Whatsapp (select this option if not provided automatically) are always a good option.
  • Click bait. Avoid clicking on links and images sent to you, especially if you don’t usually speak to the sender on social media, or they seem random or out of character.
  • Keep up to date. Update to the latest software version on your social media applications as they often contain important security updates.

It’s going to be a busy 2017, so take some time to make it a safely connected digital one as well. Happy holidays.

Gordon Archibald, Partner, Technology Risk
Gordon Archibald, Partner, Technology Risk
Gary Gill, Partner in Charge, Forensic
Gary Gill, Partner in Charge, Forensic

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