It’s Connect Smart Week

10 October 2016

Here's why this is important to us

Well first off, we're a Connect Smart partner, but our support of the intent behind Connect Smart week goes much deeper than that.

Security matters to the open Internet, so it matters to us
InternetNZ supports an open, uncapturable Internet. Capture comes in many forms, but an important one is the erosion of trust. Having an Internet which is trusted by the community is essential to build our vision of a better world through a better Internet.

Unfortunately at present we have some way to go...
You should have all seen the latest news about the massive (500 million) credential breaches at Yahoo, combined with allegations that the company was scanning all incoming email using selectors from the intelligence community.

Dropbox also lost about 68 million user credentials at some point in 2014 which have just surfaced and sure enough thousands of New Zealander's dropbox accounts have been compromised (mentioned today at the Connect Smart Week launch).

These losses of user information also comes on the back of over 100,000 compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices attacking an Internet journalist. We're looking more into the challenges and opportunities that IoT devices present. With applications such as Internet connected doorbells being able to both provide security for the people who installed them, as well as participate in large scale Internet attacks, these issues are complicated. The IoT has lots of potential, but if the devices are so insecure that they jeopardise the rest of our ability to use the Internet then do we really want them?

How do we get there?

Most importantly, let's launch that CERT
Earlier this year, the Government announced the creation of New Zealand's first national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). We're a big believer in CERT and we have been pushing for this to happen since 2005.

It was really nice to see someone at the launch with "CERT NZ" as their organisation. MBIE is hosting the CERT establishment team and from what we hear it's full steam ahead. This can't happen soon enough.

Wax on, wax off (it's all about training)
This year's theme for Connect Smart is about workplace cybersecurity and employee awareness. So, if you run an organisation, it's a good idea to train your staff. It's made us think that it's time we did some more security awareness training for our staff - we've grown a bit as an organisation over the last 18 months and had four people join the team in the three months (that's over 25% of our workforce).

What can you do?

Here's two, easy things you can do to improve your information security.

Use a password manager
Whichever works for you. Just sign-up and use one. It makes using strong, unique passwords way easier. Once you've got one the first thing you should do is change the passwords on your email accounts so they are unique and hard to guess.
LastPass, 1Password and KeePass are all password managers with good reputations.

Backup your data
Whether you copy all of your files onto a usb drive, or use a cloud backup service like Backblaze or Crashplan it's really important to have a backup of your important documents, pictures, licence keys for software and so on. Ransomware is a pain, it's out there and the best thing to do if you get hit is to wipe your PC and start again from backup.

There you go - two easy things to do to start your Connect Smart Week off well. Safer communities everyone.