Spooks, ghosts, shadows, bugs and other creepy-crawlers

No not Hallowe'en but the nasties of the digital, cyber sort. Today is the last day of Cyber Security month.

In October in 2004 the world began to notice that Cyber Security was already becoming a bit of a problem and so Cyber Security Awareness Month was established by the US State Department for Homeland Security to help raise awareness about this issue that’s become a critical part of our lives.  Only today experts have warned that brain implants used to treat Parkinson's Disease could be hacked! Read the article in the Daily Telegraph here.
Every day thousands of people have their networks compromised and their security stolen because they don’t know how to secure their web-equipped devices correctly, this month is a reminder to learn how to do that and to update your settings.

CJS has always been exceptionally careful with the information you give to us, we are registered with the Information Commissioners Office, registration number: Z9570707 and are compliant with GDPR these two are about keeping your personal details safe we also hold a valid PCI DHSS certificate (renewed this month) that's about using your payment card details responsibly.
Not only that but your data is held on a firewall protected server in the office, an actual piece of hardware not in the cloud.  Find out more.

What you can do.

  • Update your antivirus programmes and run a full scan.
  • Check your firewall settings.
  • See if your details have been hacked, sold or otherwise released into the general environment at: https://haveibeenpwned.com and if you're on their Oh No, breached list check where and make sure to change your details on those sites and anywhere else where you mave used teh same paswords.
  • Time to change your passwords - especially if they're all the same or similar or use the same elements even if in a different order. Make sure your passwords are unique, a good trick is to use a phrase connected to the website in question and either use the first letter of each word or take out all the vowels.  Check if your passwords have been seen on a hacked list at: https://haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords
  • Run the security checks on your email programmes and social media where possible (you might have noticed google's recent ads advising you to do this).

Which leads us to Shadow Data.
This is where your information has been collected via a friends profile or those handy use my contacts options or many other places, for example did you known google collects details of everything you've bought online? If you use a gmail account, even just as a catchall, then their servers go through your emails and collect details from 'receipts' and put them all together in a handy list of Purchases, Subscriptions and Reservations - yes, google even knows which holiday you've booked and when you're flying!  Horrify yourself with how much you've spent.
This shadow data is shared without you knowing.  Did you ever wonder how you suddenly get facebook ads for things you've been discussing with friends or even if you've turned off all the ad preference targeting (109 companies when I checked) you still get targeted ads?  This is how.
And even if you've done everything possible then your details can still be 'leaked', earlier this year I received a you've been pwned warning email stating that my email address had appeared in a list from a company that I had never heard of, Apollo. It turns out that they 'scrape' the internet culling details from social media and websites (info here) and my address was on that list.  They had not informed me because I was not a customer so I have no way of knowing exactly what information was revealed, however I console myself that the only details they could obtain were what's available on my public profile (must have been LinkedIn, I don’t have any others) so they won't have much and shouldn't have any vital details but I'm being careful and have changed all of my passwords (which took forever!).