Is it about time the internet got better security?

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How secure are we online?

We hear horror stories all the time. Whether it’s phone companies being hacked or a friend’s laptop getting a virus, the internet gives and takes with the same hand. As the world becomes increasingly intelligent so do the hackers, and staying safe online is not as simple as downloading anti-virus software anymore.

As a forward-thinking digital marketing agency, security has been a recurring subject both for ourselves and our clients’ accounts and it’s hard to ignore the level of discussion taking place across digital marketing communities.

So just why is digital security becoming such a talking point? Is it a case that the same threat that’s always been there is getting more headline space or does the internet need bigger, beefier bouncers?

Mobile security

One of the biggest issues we’re facing is the increasing capabilities of smartphone and mobile devices. Once upon a time we’d be hesitant to make any transaction on a mobile device but today we live in an environment where one in three of all UK online sales are now made on a mobile or tablet.

While the technology is there for purchasing and making our lives easier, are we embracing this simpler digital life before security has had time to catch up?

As banks now have to deal with this ever growing trend of online banking and spending, it’s inevitable that hackers and fraudsters are going to tap into this weak link, as is the case with ‘two step authentication’ where a bank may text you a unique code to enter into a website before completing a transaction.

This has been exploited by criminals who’ve been getting access to the victim’s bank details and carrying out a sim swap in order to obtain the individual code and complete a transaction, as was the case explained in this BBC Money Box podcast. While banks are wising up to this type of activity, it’s only a matter of time until fraudsters move on to the next tactic.

Social media

Social media is another area where security has been hazy. Rarely a day goes by without some form of news over a social account or a network itself falling victim to a security breach or hack.

In our digitally social world, going back isn’t an option, so how do we overcome security issues in our most public of private spaces?
Better passwords are one answer. Random password generators are easy to find online (we’ve even embedded one below) but is it enough to have a strong password?

Well, considering the most commonly used password of 2015 was ‘123456’, according to the Telegraph, it would seem as though a more secure one would be a good start.

Hootsuite, the social media management system, suggests considering implementing a password management tool. It’s vital to ensure that the password isn’t then kept on a shared computer, within emails or on a losable device in order to keep your client’s data as secure as possible.

Security and future tech

Everyone was hesitant about Contactless and mobile payment this time a couple of years ago but it’s increasingly becoming the norm, with many of us finding ourselves frustrated when forced to get our hands dirty and actually type our PIN.

The same is surely soon to be said about many other forms of technology currently emerging. As discussed in this previous JJ article, the Internet of Things – a brilliant concept that’s gaining traction – is likely to come under security fire this year. As more everyday objects connect with the internet to make our lives ‘simpler’ are we not just giving criminals greater opportunity to hack into our details?

The same also applies to wearables. Fitbits, Apple Watch and the like now store your data on your wrist but have we stopped to think about who now has access to this data?

As the world of technology and the internet becomes increasingly exciting and advanced, it’s worth putting our serious heads on for just a moment and thinking about the consequences. Social media, the IoT and mobile payments are all making our lives simpler but how simple will it be when the whole world has the opportunity to access your most personal details?

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