Get paranoid if you want to protect your data. 5 ways to use your paranoia to protect yourself.

Paranoia is the best protectionEveryone is out to get you.  They want to steal your business information, compromise your clients and steal your identity.   If you do not already look at your business in that light then you may already have a security problem.

This is not one of those scary type articles.    On the world wide web and / or the Internet it is already a reality.   The huge communication system that is the Internet allows for the free availability of information but it also allows for attacks on your business like never before.   In the old days of bricks and mortar business the protection of the business relied on steel bars, safes and good locks.   No more.

So this article is a call for you to change your outlook because, on the Internet, the best attitude to have is to err on the paranoid side.   Not everyone is out to get you but having that paranoid outlook will improve your chances of not being compromised.

If you approach the Internet and business with the attitude that everyone wants to steal from you then you will automatically be cautious when it comes to using it.   Caution is good, and a great place to start.

In the old days a firm handshake and a smile got you in many doors because you built up trust with your actions.   The internet doesn’t allow you that luxury so you have to get your trust from somewhere else.

That’s just another reason to be paranoid.   Here are a few tips for you:

Be cautious

Whenever you are doing anything on the Internet do it cautiously.   Check web sites to make sure that they are who they say they are.   Always check the link is correct

Never trust anyone

No matter what is happening always check to make sure that the link in an email is correct.   Even if you are expecting it, still check it.   It doesn’t take much for a contact or someone else to be compromised and pass it around.   Again check domain names.   If a financial institute is asking to confirm information then it is a hoax.   If you are giving a web site your information how secure are they?  Do you trust them to look after your information?

Always check websites and businesses to make sure they are real

If you are going to do business with a website always check that there is some level of bricks and mortar and reality behind the site.   Does it have a real address, phone number, fax number if not err on the side of caution.  One of the best ones is if you are purchasing something make sure they have a return policy or guarantee.   Even more importantly check to see who owns or manages the business and do a quick search on them as well.   If you still have doubts then in Australia you can check their business registration on ASIC.

Use good technology to protect yourself

Use good anti virus, anti spyware, anti malware and antiSPAM.   Use a good firewall both at the Internet connection and on the system accessing the Internet and make sure all operating systems and applications – especially the little ones – are fully patched.   Make sure that you are secure when accessing the Internet. NO free wifi.

If its too good to be true then it is.  

This is especially true when it comes to the Internet.   If to win a new iPad you have to give away personal information then it is not worth it.   Just remember nothing is for free especially on the world wide web.

Full name, date of birth and tax file number / social security number and they can steal your identity.  Don’t leave yourself vulnerable

The old saying that even paranoids have enemies is very true.   On the internet be paranoid, protect yourself and your business and most of all use caution when doing anything.

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.