Nobody nowadays understands how our homes could lack doors with locks, considering all of the kinds available, armoured and protected in many cases by an alarm that can be connected to an alarm centre; and if necessary, motion detectors and a thousand other devices that I could go on enumerating. Cybersecurity deals with other types of areas such as mobile phones, notebooks, laptops, computers, cars and all kinds of devices that connect to a network (Internet). With the launch in mid-September of the European Payment Directive, better known as PSD2, which requires having a “strong authentication” (which involves using two of the following three: something that the person knows, PIN, password, etc. Something that the person owns, credential, magnetic card … etc. Something that the person is, facial recognition, retina … etc.) in these types of transactions, economic ones specifically, we are forced to review what we do from our devices as safe or not.
How can we protect them? Beyond the physical protection that prevents scratches or deterioration while carrying them, but nobody carries their cellphone or laptop completely bundled up, what kind of protection are we giving these devices? As always, logical protection is an option to consider with non-obvious passwords and changing them from time to time seems simple, but it requires discipline. If we use our cellphones like computers, and sensitive data is stored on them, we have to ask ourselves if we need to increase the security levels using payment programs to protect them, antivirus, or biometric measures, which have their limitations, even if we apply them all at once.
There are facts in cybersecurity that can go unnoticed, such as having private data and files on the same computer that we connect to the internet, however, we do not know if those files are safe. Our computers can be infected with viruses and even cause us to lose the information we have saved. Does it make sense to use two computers, one with sensitive data and the other for connecting to the internet, hobbies and leisure? In the hyperconnected world we live in, how can we be sure that nobody has connected to our car’s computer, and accessed and compromised the information?
There are issues that cybersecurity is already offering solutions for, like the solutions of older times against theft, abuse and invasion on your own land such as locks and windows with bars. The topic is diverse, exciting and complex, but in the meantime it would not hurt to use common sense and some basic rules that help to safeguard the privacy of the information such as avoiding negligence when exchanging files, not connecting to an unreliable network, changing passwords more often, and ultimately being reasonably distrustful and, if possible, informing a cybersecurity expert in advance.
Manuel García Ramírez
Director at MGR Consultants IT y Security