Why Pokemon Go serves as a reminder about the importance of cyber security

Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Earlier this year, Pokémon GO took the world by storm and its instant success shows no signs of abating. Commercial brands and retailers are jumping on the bandwagon to attract more customer traffic.

While technologies like augmented reality hold many possibilities for Australian businesses, organisations must also be aware of potential pitfalls.

In the case of Pokémon GO, cybercriminals have also begun to exploit its status as one of the most popular apps ever created. Some have created fake apps that look like the real deal. Others promise to help gamers earn more in-game app currency. More recently, cybercriminals have designed a ransomware that impersonates a Pokémon GO application for Windows.

Pokémon GO attacks are the latest in the long line of cyber threats that exploit technology trends. Cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are still prime targets for cybercriminals.

Carbonite, a cloud-based backup provider, recently discovered reused password attacks that attempted to steal its customers’ email addresses and passwords. It potentially exposed 1.5 million active users to data breach.

Shodan, a search engine for IoT, has a new section that allows its users to access unsecured webcams all around the world. Everything, from the back rooms of banks and cash registers to swimming pools and children sleeping at home, is now exposed.

Russian hackers are also taking advantage of the tremendous amounts of data companies now typically generate and store. We’ve detected a trend in which cybercriminals with access to big servers process big data for information such as credit card details and log files.

1. Take control of trends before they control your business

In this increasingly uncertain world of emerging trends and threats, it’s become more important for Australian organisations to take control of cybersecurity. There are no shortcut solutions. Organisations must invest the time and effort to incorporate these three practices into their daily security operations.

2. Be aware, adopt a healthy scepticism of new technologies

To mitigate any danger, it is important to understand its nature. When exploring a new technology to benefit the business, never jump into it without consulting cybersecurity teams about possible ways it could be used as a gateway for cyber attacks. Keep your organisation constantly updated with the latest threat intelligence and analysis on the latest cyber threat developments.

3. Make every employee play a part in cybersecurity

New developments are inevitable and cannot be controlled. However, you can still influence your employees’ mindset and practices when it comes to cybersecurity. Conduct regular training or send updates about technological trends that impact their working habits and professional security.

Best practices, such as changing default passwords and purchasing hardware with well-designed security, should be second nature to everyone working in your organisation.

4. Deploy security for multiple environments

The severity and complexity of threats today drive up the need for more sophisticated security measures. Your protection must span across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

Ensure that you have a complete set of security capabilities and automate management so that you secure effectively without compromising your daily IT performance.

Technological trends may come and go, but good cybersecurity is forever. Build a secure environment by developing a sensitivity to the latest security trends, equipping your workforce with the right knowledge, and implementing security that cuts across the organisation.

Dhanya Thakkar is the managing director and VP for Asia Pacific at Trend Micro.

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