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How safe are YOU from Cyber Criminals?

Posted on 12/08/2015 by Chloe Evans

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The rise of Cybercrime is on the up and we are regularly reminded of this, hardly a day goes by without news of a new cyber threat or a major data breach arise from the likes of “malspace” - an online environment inhabited by hacking groups and espionage units.

This got me thinking… that cybercrime does not only affect large organisations but how cybercrime affects the average user like me and you.  

Cybercrime is not always about stealing money - it can be about stealing data or information. We all remember the Apple Hacking breach last year, it advertises how easy it is for cyber criminals to access our data. Admittedly, thankfully I am not in the spotlight or indeed a celebrity, but it is still scary how accessible the private data (pictures, text messages, etc) for us ordinary consumers actually is.

As cyber criminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in their hacking methods standard security measures such as username and password (also known as one factor authentication) is more vulnerable than ever.  

When checking my HSBC account and having to log on using both my password and my secure key, I thought how Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) could help protect other devices. 2FA is about having two types of credentials, usually something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a banking secure key or your fingerprint).2FA is not a new technology with it dating back to 1984 and has been used by the bigger banks and financial institutes for years for their employees to log on to systems remotely. Yet HSBC only brought in the secure key for consumers in 2011.

Should you have 2FA protection on your mobile phone or icloud account for example, the hacker would have to not only penetrate into the physical device (ie mobile phone or icloud account) but would also have to gain access to the cookies or tokens placed on the device by the authentication mechanism. Although it would not be impossible for cyber criminals to gain access, it certainly makes it much more difficult.

Two-factor authentication may not be the perfect and only solution but if using it for all of your devices that contain your private information (not only for internet banking) it would prove much harder to hack and will help to secure your data away from prying eyes.

2FA may not be the answer - but I think it would definitely help, but I would love to hear some of your thoughts?