It's suck cyber security eggs week

It's suck cyber security eggs week

Summary: In case you didn't know it, it's Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) — on both sides of the Tasman.

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TOPICS: Security
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In case you didn't know it, it's Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) — on both sides of the Tasman.

Apparently, it is New Zealand's first ever Cyber Security Awareness Week. And to mark it, we have NZ's ICT Minister Amy Adams telling us all what to do, to make our homes and our businesses safe from cyber terrorists and other undesirables, everywhere.

I, personally, thought cyber security was already at the top of mind for most computer users, and that we'd been encouraging people to protect themselves for years.

Really, we've all been aware of the dangers of hacking, ever since a young Matthew Broderick almost caused World War III nearly 30 years ago, when there was still such a thing as the Soviet Union.

And while that was Hollywood fiction, the reality is with us all the time, with almost daily reminders of cyber security failures.

Threats have evolved from simple viruses through to blended threats and trojans. They've matured enough to bring down complex systems, including setting back Iran's nuclear ambitions.

So, over the years, you'd think we'd have got the message.

True, cybercrime might cost New Zealand $625 million a year, with 2000 Kiwis affected by cybercrime every day, but can the NZ government really think of anything to say this CSAW that we haven't heard before?

But, just as I once said, becausebusinesses needed to be taught how to suck eggs and be ordered to get a website to boost sales, so it seems that we must all need be taught to suck eggs with security.

Perhaps the warnings have been too frequent and we have become blasé — disinterested in protecting ourselves from the Big Bad Wolf.

Or, perhaps we should just blame the apathy on our living in an age of Sheeple, an idiocracy of stupid masses.

Why else do we have government ads telling us not to drive fast, not to drink and drive, to exercise and to eat better? If the government must tell us to fit smoke alarms in our homes, then surely it can tell us to make our PCs and similar devices secure, like it did this week.

This might seem like telling us all to suck eggs, but, sadly, it seems that we really must be told.

Topic: Security

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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  • As the chap in charge of the New Zealand CSAW at NetSafe I can understand your hesitation to be enthusiastic about yet another government sponsored public safety message.

    I'd be the first to admit that Kiwi TV is packed full of safety messages - who doesn't love Ghost Chips though?

    Are we teaching people to suck eggs with the country's first cyber security week? Given the range of events this week and the variety of people I've spoken with I'd have to strongly disagree.

    On Monday, I attended a free Computer Hospital for staff at the Ministry for Primary Industries, a kind of drop in service for staff home tech which revealed some real shockers - think unpatched Windows XP SP1 from who knows when for example.

    On Wednesday we launched a new NetSafe cybersafety and security badge for Cubs and Brownies - the 6 months work behind this showed just how much kids know and parents often don't.

    In between we took a higher number of helpline calls than usual plus handled a whole host of cyber incident reports from www.theorb.org.nz. All have one thing in common - many people don't have any idea how to secure a computer once they've taken it out of the box.

    The $625m Norton figure is a shocking amount of money lost to malware, online scams and phishing/identity theft and I'd love to see that come down. Last year the cold calling PC doctor scam alone was thought to have taken $10m out of the country for often shoddy technical support.

    I know there are many people out there who do know how to protect themselves online (we had a great new wi-fi security tip sent in) but for the other 54% we have to start with simple and easy advice that doesn't confuse or scare them off altogether.

    On the subject of eggs we've even put together some helpful and humorous videos to try and get people engaged: https://vimeo.com/user6064691/videos. Plus check out the full range of NetSafe cyber security advice at http://www.securitycentral.org.nz
    NetSafeNZ