Monitor your Health, Sure. Have your Data Stolen, No

Monitor your Health, Sure. Have your Data Stolen, No.

January 21, 2021

CyberArk Senior Vice President APJ Vincent Goh says as apps become more central to modern life, it’s time people take their digital health seriously…

By Vincent Goh

Cybersecurity has become more than ever, a part of everything we do as the health crisis continues to significantly influence our daily lives. The more we are connected and the more technologies such as IoT enable these connections, so cybercriminals enhance their creativity and techniques to target sensitive data and critical assets, access to which on the dark net is very lucrative.

In recent years, Asia has been a target of numerous cyberattacks. According to PwC’s Cyber Threats To Hong Kong: An Incident Response Perspective report, Hong Kong has witnessed prolonged and coordinated network intrusions directed at companies across various industries. The types of attacks range from email spoofing to ransomware to crypto mining with internet-facing infrastructures as the main initial attack entry point.

In Singapore, the latest report from the Cyber Security Agency also shows a 200 percent increase in phishing attacks. The agency detected 47,500 uniform resource locator (URL) with a Singapore link. Accounting for more than one-quarter of all crimes last year, organisations in Singapore must work in tandem to create a safer digital space for everyone in the community.

Many aspects of our daily life are entry points for cybercriminals, and this is not always obvious to people who are not cybersecurity experts. Consumers must know the cyber risks weighing on their devices and adopt the appropriate habits to secure them and, ultimately, protect themselves:

Not trusting strangers is a rule learned from a young age, and which also applies in the digital world. You should never open messages or click on links from people you do not know. Whether it is email, or messages on Slack, Teams, or Google Chat.

Monitoring your health, okay. Having your data stolen, no. Internet-enabled devices such as smart TVs, connected meters and virtual assistants are finding their way to people’s homes. Additionally, fitness trackers and ″smart ″ watches have gained popularity over the years as they are an easy way to keep tabs on one’s fitness. However, they collect a lot of personal data. Their users – or those who are considering purchasing one – therefore need to make sure they know exactly how personal information is used, stored and protected by brands.

They offer convenience and functionalities but each of these devices expands the attack surface for hackers to exploit. With the proliferation of IoT, and appliances and devices getting smarter every day, homes and businesses are becoming more integrated and connected. Thus, it is necessary to trust only well-known manufacturers, apply every available security patch and change passwords regularly.

Do not reveal too much information on social networks. Most targeted cyber attacks today follow a similar pattern. Attackers compromise credentials, use them to gain elevated access and permissions, and in turn become able to access valuable systems and information. Social networks allow you to share passions and good times with those close to you, but be careful not to share personal information that can be used to determine passwords and security questions, indicate a location, or predict behaviour. It is indeed a gold mine for criminals looking for their next victim.

Organisations can guard against lost credentials by introducing a privileged access management strategy to harden their defences to threats and intrusions. Using privileged access management, IT teams can manage and secure their applications and systems better.

Secure your smartphone. Applications are an integral part of our daily life. There is something for everything and everyone: shopping, making an appointment with a health professional, knowing your bank balance and making transfers, or even knowing when to water your plants.

Cell phones have replaced the role of a personal assistant, both in the private and professional spheres. They are no less vulnerable to attacks. Therefore, their users should check what data each application has access to. Additionally, better authentication processes – such as multi-factor authentication – help ensure that smartphones are not leveraged by attackers to steal personal information.

Protect the IoT.  IoT devices, like smart TVs and connected meters, are certainly handy, but they require a lot of information and connections to function properly. Besides, they are getting smarter every day and integrating, creating fully connected homes and businesses. To secure them and close all doors to the network, it is necessary to trust only known manufacturers, apply every available security patch and update their default passwords. Moreover, by implementing automated, centralised and proactive controls, organisations can prevent cybercriminals from exploiting privileged access and compromising valuable enterprise assets.

Technology is becoming more and more central to our daily habits. A large part of our leisure activities now includes going online, as well as our shopping or administrative procedures. Protecting our data and proving our identity will be at the heart of everything we do. When one has security awareness and the right technology, we all can play our part in creating a safer digital space for all.

(Ed. Vincent Goh leads the sales and channels teams, and is responsible for driving CyberArk’s growing customer base and channels across APJ. Featured image by Photographer Cottonbro.)


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