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Are your personal systems fool-proof?

Since some politicians poked holes into the sturdiness of the IEBC’s electronic system, there has been animated and widely covered debate about cyber security.

Laymen and professionals have weighed in on IEBC electronic systems, “analysing” the database to the last decimal point.

That conversation was good because it once again brought to the light the real dangers that our electronic systems are exposed to.

The import of this article is however not about IEBC and its systems.

INFORMATION

Let’s leave that to technology titans and the courts. This is about your electronic systems.

Have you stopped for a moment to think about electronic systems that you rely on, daily?

Systems that curate or convey important and sometimes sensitive personal information?

I’m talking about your phone that has your financial information; where your darkest secrets and priceless pictures reside.

Have you ever wondered if someone else peeks into your eyes-only emails?

PHISHING
The question is, what precautions do you take to keep what you desire to be private, to remain private?

You do not have to be a tech guru to protect your electronic assets.

You can adopt some common sense behaviour that can keep the tech bad boys at bay.

Have you heard of phishing? Phishing is the attempt by unauthorised people to fish sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and bank details — often for malicious reasons — by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

SAFETY
If you fall victim to phishing, you lose control of your emails.

You could lose money or precious information.

Your email account could be used to send malicious information about you.

Here is the eye-popping part — the email could carry embarrassing pictures ostensibly taken by you or about you.

Nowadays, information moves at the speed of light.

If attacked, it would be impossible to stop the spread of such information.

VERIFY

Worse, it would be impossible to redeem your image once it is soiled.

To cushion yourself against phishing, be especially cautious of emails that come from senders you don’t recognise.

If an email asks you to confirm personal or financial information over the Internet and/or make urgent requests for this information, that’s a hint that you could be on the verge of being compromised.

Hackers aim for your heart and soul first.

EMAIL

If you get an email that tries to upset you into acting quickly by threatening you with frightening information, step back; fill your lugs with air and read again.

Think carefully on whether the email needs a reply or a delete.

Do not divulge personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call.

Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a phone number to update your account information as well.

Danger lurks on emails with attachments.

PRECAUTION
Do not click on links, download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders.

It is best to open attachments only when you are expecting them and know what they contain, even if you know the sender.

Beware of links in emails that ask for personal information, even if the email appears to come from someone you do business with.

Phishing web sites often copy the entire look of a legitimate web site, making it appear authentic.

To be safe, call the legitimate person or company first to see if they really sent that email to you.

MOBILE PHONES
Increasingly, many people use their phone for many personal and professional communications and transactions.

Mobile devices, especially smart phones and tablets, have become very attractive to hackers.

Always ensure that your phone has an updated operating systems, as well as the apps that you use.

Phone manufactures and application developers are always looking for loopholes that can be exploited by the bad guys and patch them before their customers fall victims.

The writer is an informatics specialist. [email protected] @samwambugu2

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