Tech Talk: Bill Magee
The Digital Dash, as I’ve labelled the Scottish Government’s call during Covid-19, urging everyone to “think radically” about embracing new technologies, is to be applauded, but still has me a bit worried.
Anything that acts as a technological booster to Scotland’s place on the global stage is welcome. As long as it’s not at the cost of the very livelihood of businesses. I’m talking cyber security and I make no apologies for banging on about this key subject again and again and…
I’ve unearthed a quite startling series of statistics from Google that surely must convince even the most reluctant business to ensure its online security house in order.
The largest search engine on the planet says it is blocking more than 240 million pandemic-related spam messages. Every day.
Another revelation is that Gmail currently blocks in excess of 100 phishing emails daily that employ, it says, a combination of “fear and financial” incentives to create a sense of urgency to persuade targets to respond.
The cyber criminals can be very persuasive. Usually impersonating government organisations or the like, to solicit fraudulent donations or claiming there’s a large payment in store all the recipient needs to do is respond.
I’m highlighting these stats following Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes calling on all of us to embrace digital technologies and low carbon reforms.
ScotlandIS has joined the call for groundbreaking ideas and potential solutions, ones that display technical expertise and results-based thinking to help build the “Digital Nation.”
Ironically the health scare is having the effect of persuading sectors to undertake a digital catch-up by adopting new tech at a rate-and-scale ordinarily taking years to accomplish.
However, in the rush to do all things digital this must not lead to an organisation leaving itself wide open to predators.
Businesses will be extra-fragile coming out of this global health scare with the sole priority being survival. In such a desperate state of affairs, it is easy to leave online security to another day.
Don’t take my word for it. I’ll let Royal Bank of Scotland (if we still call it that) explain. RBS commercial fraud squad highlights remote working as the norm for many businesses during lockdown.
However, this also means that a securing of systems and data, just as you would in the office, is crucial. The bank lists the risks for businesses and their staff to be aware of and what to do about them.
It involves five key areas –
Criminals may pose as creditors or suppliers, saying their company’s bank details have changed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
With phone fraud – known as ‘vishing’ – criminals are making calls linked to Covid-19, claiming to be from an organisation or company you trust.
Criminals are sending out coronavirus-themed emails, attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.
With these bogus emails, a request for an urgent payment claims to be from a senior member of staff in your organisation.
Keep Unused Cards Safe
If you know you won’t be using your card for a while, make sure nobody else is. Mobile apps can use the “card lock” function to temporarily deactivate the card.
National Fraud intelligence Bureau figures reveal Covid-19 related fraud reports increased 400 per cent in March 2020. April and May are likely to be even worse.