Last week, Tiq by Etiqa Insurance held our first ever Cyber Security Workshop, in collaboration with COMAT, a division under ST Electronics (e-Services). The 3-hour training session was an eye-opener, with live demonstrations on cyber attacks. In recent years, there are increasing awareness on cyber security, especially with high profile cyber attacks such as the SingHealth data breach. While many of us are aware of cyber security risks, we tend to have the mindset of “it wouldn’t happen to me”. Well, think again. Meanwhile, here’s sharing the 5 things I learnt from the workshop that will be useful for you too!
1. Anyone can be a hacker!
With hacking software easily available for download on the Internet, it really does not take a rocket scientist to be a hacker! All one needs to do is to download, install, and launch application! During the live demonstration by COMAT’s trainer, we were shown the wide range of hacking activities that one can conduct within the hacker’s software. This included password cracker and Wi-Fi hacks!
2. Wi-Fi hacks are super scary!
Source: CNA Insider
First, we were being shown the above video by CNA Insider. Then, we were asked to check the Wi-Fi network on our mobile devices before and after the Wi-Fi hacking software was turned on. There was a significant increase in number of available Wi-Fi networks, and the scary thing is, the ones with open access looked legit! If I don’t have data and want to have free Wi-Fi access, I would have logged on and be preyed upon!
The other scarier thing is, as a typical Singaporean who loves to travel, I would log on to the Wi-Fi of my accommodation, and sometimes even at restaurants or attraction sites. What does this mean? Basically, everything that I do on my mobile phone can be seen by those who have control of the Wi-Fi network! That being said, there are ways to enhance security, and one of the ways is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that creates an additional layer of protection – forget about the slower speed, a safer Internet connection matters more!
3. Use a VPN, especially when you are travelling
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a secure tunnel between two or more devices. It is a connection method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks like Wi-Fi hotspots. All you need to do is turn on the VPN before connecting to the Internet, and your “online trails” will be encrypted.
You can get VPN for your mobile phone, laptop, iPad, etc., which are available in free or paid versions. As VPNs are constantly evolving, it may be wise to consider a VPN service provider for a monthly subscription rather than a year-long subscription.
4. Password manager is your best choice for now
While many users are now using stronger passwords than ‘password’ or ‘abc1234’, many people still reuse the same password for different accounts! Let’s be honest, who can remember all those different passwords without noting it down somewhere?
According to our COMAT trainer, the password manager could be your best choice for now. A secure password manager will generate strong passwords for you using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, and store them all in an encrypted vault. All you need to remember is the password for the password manager.
Somebody asked during the workshop, “Does that mean that the hacker only needs one password to hack into my password manager, and gain to access all my confidential passwords?”
Technically speaking, yes.
However, you should know that most password managers employ multi-factor authentication, so access to your credential vault is granted only with a correct password and an authentication code. That code exists only on a device you own, limiting the ability for someone across the world to gain access to your information. In most cases, this is strong enough security.
5. It is better not to know some things
There’s a reason for the phrase, “curiosity kills the cat”. When it comes to accessing confidential data, employees should do so only on a need-to-know basis, and you better be careful about these information that you are privy to. Note recent HIV status leak that stemmed from a tangle love affair and the innocent victims that were affected. Even if a slip of tongue or data breach is an unintentional act, people with malicious intent can use the information illegally and you’d have become an accomplice. So, bear in mind that ‘not knowing is sometimes bliss’, and always treat all confidential data with extra caution!
The added protection
Taking preventive measures is important but what happens if there’s a lapse? In the event that cyber security has been breached, you’d wish you have something like the Personal Cyber Insurance by Etiqa. This plan insures you and your family from cyber security breaches with coverage of up to $25,000 for a year. Learn more here.
Information is accurate as at 13th February 2019.