Cyber security ‘a must’ for your financial future – expert
Cyber attacks that steal personal information, and even financial information, have become more sophisticated and can happen in seconds. For this reason, it is paramount to know how to prepare for, as well as how to identify and prevent these attacks in the modern interconnected world.
“Cyber security is a must for your financial future. Protecting yourself and your assets starts with being aware of what you need to look for, and what to do in a situation where your information has been compromised,” said Nedbank Namibia’s Celeste Nel, Manager: ICT Risk and Security.
Cyber-criminals use phishing emails, face to face interactions or telephone conversations to steal information. Usually, they will pretend to be a company, customer or person wanting to do business with you to extract information they can use.
“If you have an interaction like this, especially if it seems to be coming from your bank or another company which you share personal information with, take it up with a trusted advisor or someone you have worked with before who can investigate it,” Nel said.
Phishing email attacks are one of the main sources of stolen information. These type of emails attempt to trick you into providing information like your banking details or login credentials to valuable data sources. Nel explains that you must be vigilant when reading your emails and know what to look for.
“When you receive an email, scrutinize the email address and the content. If words in the address are spelled wrong or if the domain, the .com.na part, does not match with emails you have received before, you might have a phishing situation on your hands. Likewise, if the content of the email has grammar or spelling errors – it is another sure sign that it is not coming from a bank or another company which would need your personal information,” Nel emphasized.
Nel warned that our mobile phones are another place where hackers can steal personal and financial information. “The apps we use capture a lot of background information which can be easily shared with outside sources. Make sure your phone has some type of password or fingerprint protection to get into it and ensure that you give the bare minimum permission to apps regarding your information,” she explains.
Strong passwords are also key in the fight against cyber-attacks, Nel says. “Your passwords should be different so that if one password is compromised, hackers won’t be able to easily get into your other accounts. If you have a hard time remembering passwords, try using a unique phrase that has a lot of meaning to you and play around with letters and numbers to make it iron-clad,” Nel recommends.
Passwords on your home wifi are also important, so that hackers cannot access your personal network. Also, it is important to be weary of public wifi networks, as you are not aware of who might be accessing and stealing your information.
Nel highlights the importance of strengthening your cyber security as soon as possible. “Hackers are on the hunt for information 24-7, so it is important that you make sure that your cyber and financial security is robust and impassable today,” Nel added.