“It won’t happen to me” and other stupid sayings from the Internet

6363436-searchThe Internet is the fastest growing phenomena in human history.   It is great for business and even better for the social component of our lives.   With everything digital we have now got full access to our digital footprint, any time, anywhere.

The down side of the Internet is that everything is digital and everything is available any time and anywhere.   You see, The Internet has its own dangers.   It is inherently dangerous just in its nature.   The attitude that Everything on the Internet is free and available is one of the problems.   Many people think that and even more people totally embrace that philosophy.  It is the greatest medium of free speech ever invented but with that comes the inherent dangers of keeping it free.

The criminals and criminal gangs have moved from the mundane to the digital just like everyone else.   The problem is that they have embraced the environment fully.    The criminals and bad guys are actually far ahead of us mundane and normal people when it comes to using the internet for their nefarious means.

Technology and criminals have always mixed well.   In the 80’s the criminals had pagers well before the more affluent people in society did.   In the 90’s Mexican criminals and drug lords implemented and developed their own mobile phone network, complete with towers, SIM cards and phones.   The criminals have always seen technology as a way to make their lives easier.   With the advent of the Internet they saw the possibilities well before most businesses.

In 2008, the introduction of android, the criminals had already targeted the Google app store and developed fake banking apps.   These fake apps caught a huge number of people.   In 2012, a joint FBI task force shut down a criminal enterprise in the Ukraine that were responsible for the FBI Internet ransonware scam.   What they found was a normal business that paid taxes, had a help desk and only 5% of the staff knew they were doing something illegal.

The use of social media, mobile phones and the newest technology by everyday people just made it easier for the criminals to target us and to steal everything that they can.    Add in that the 12 year old who thinks its fun to make someone else’s computer crash and we have some serious problems.   So to say that it won’t happen to me is just stupid and naive.

The criminals are stealing between $600 billion and $2 trillion per year (depends on who you talk to and where they got their numbers from).   Either way it is a staggering amount of money.   That amount is the gross national product of some of the smaller countries in the world.

That’s just the monetary component what about intellectual property, not just of a business but your own.   Include in that, the information we all put into website forms and a large amount of information concerning you is a available if the website is compromised.

One of the things that we teach, well two actually, paranoia is your friend and use common sense in everything that you do on the Internet.   On the Internet everyone is after something.   The criminals know this.

Are you after the latest software, well the criminals have already cracked it, added their own malware component and are giving it away for free on hundreds of sites.   Looking for juicy gossip about your favourite rock star, well the criminals have already made sure that they are the first search on Google.   What normal business do to enable Google ad words and SEO, the criminals are also doing.   As fast as Google search can black ban a malicious site, 10 similar ones have popped up in other places.   What about that new song from the newest pop sensation, you guessed it, something about it has been compromised.

For most people “it won’t happen to me” is their attitude and this will not change, that is until it happens to them.   When that happens it will be someone else’s problem, someone else fault or the world is just so unfair.

Don’t be one of them, be paranoid, well you can’t really be paranoid when everyone is after you.  Use common sense, if its too good to be true, if its free or if someone is going to give you money then it’s a scam.

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.