Cyberthreats: No man is an internet island

WHAT is the price of being connected to the Web? This is an interesting question. The Internet is a resource but there is no way its use can ever be called free.

Some of us take advantage of free Wi-Fi at various locations but the majority have a monthly plan with an Internet service provider. Obviously another expense is that of the actual device that you are using and the upkeep of that device.

More often now another expense associated with Internet access is hitting individuals, families and businesses alike. The expense associated with hackers and ransomware. As the Cadbury factory found out this week - along with a heap of state owned agencies, large business and individuals around the globe. The World Wide Web (WWW) is exactly that and it 'connects' us to some very organised cybercriminals and cybercriminal groups.

The latest Petya ransomware or virus has hit hard on the unprepared. Based on similar programing to the WannaCry virus that spread around the globe just a few weeks ago. It has again highlighted the need to keep operating systems such as Windows up-to-date. This also includes having a good virus scanner and the latest browser software. Unfortunately to comply with all of the above it really necessitates the purchase of new computers at least every five years.

Some will argue that they can struggle through with old equipment and outdated software as they 'don't have any valuable data on their PC' - however they are still at risk of losing money through identity theft or the major inconvenience of having popular log-in type Web sites compromised. To many cybercriminals there is 'big' money to be had from even individuals, let alone businesses in the western world and we laid back Australians are certainly high on their hit lists.

It amazes me that now in 2017 we still walk into new customers' businesses and see their IT systems strung together in a haphazard manner and yet still relied upon for the vital operations of the business. Lately we have seen a number of businesses with poorly setup IT that think they are insulated from cyberattack simply because they have insurance against it. Do you really want to build a house of straw simply because you can still insure it?

Some businesses take months to recover from a cyberattack and some never recover so the age old adage of 'a stitch in time' really prevails and a properly setup network can negate the need for such insurance in the first place. The first step when we come across such a mess is a good backup system, closely followed by good security and finally - robust and reliable hardware.

Even if you are a home user, you can never underestimate the value of a good backup system and this can be achieved by as little as $120 - or a monthly subscription (sometimes free) to a cloud backup service of good repute. Next time you click on the Internet consider that you are not an island and someone out there is trying very hard right now to prosper from you. Send Future Byte Me topics to bytemearticles@gmail.com