By Tom Fairfax, Managing Director, SRM
Whilst everyone has a responsibility to manage their Cyber Security to the best of their ability, no-one is completely safe and despite their best efforts, we may all be attacked. In practice, there are two sides to this.
It goes without saying that we all have a responsibility to manage our own Cyber Security measures in an appropriate manner. We must remain alert to the fact, however, despite everyone’s best efforts, there may be a successful attack and we all need to take responsibility for our own resilience.
We can blame third parties who are breached as much as we like – in some cases with reason – but that isn’t going to do us any real good in the short term. Whether we are organisations or individual members of the public, we need to ensure that we have taken the simple steps necessary to ensure that we can respond when the inevitable happens.
Regardless of the detailed causes – which may or may not become clear during the analysis – TalkTalk appear, at this stage, to be managing this issue in a clear and decisive way. Let’s be clear, however, they are not the only ones to be attacked. The TalkTalk breach has been identified – there are many which haven’t. We must all assume that somewhere, our data may have been compromised. That is where we come in as individuals. There are some simple steps that we can all take to ensure that we raise the bar to attackers. Some of these are not as complicated as you might imagine:
- We need to have (kept safely) a list of all of our cards, and the emergency telephone numbers to ring. This information needs to be kept securely in a form that is available when our computers are not. If we are travelling, we may choose to leave these details with someone trusted whilst we are away;
- We need to check all of our bank and card statements carefully and promptly;
- We need to be alert and sceptical. For example, if we are unexpectedly refused credit, this would be a good indication that we should check our credit record for compromise;
- We need to maintain our cyber hygiene (http://blog.srm-solutions.com), keeping our computers protected and up to date, ensuring that we change our passwords regularly, and that we remain alert for suspicious activity.
Hang on, I hear you say – this is old hat! Sadly, this is the world in which we live. We must all assume that, at some stage, our details may be compromised whether directly or via a third party, probably through no fault of our own. We need to able to take responsibility for our own personal resilience.
If we don’t we will be vulnerable. If we haven’t taken the common sense measures to ensure we can respond to a problem, we can blame no-one but ourselves.