Opinion: Educating the public on cyber security is a must

Margins in the Channel have been tight for quite some time. This applies across the board irrespective of the technologies that are being sold. However, security is one area where sales are slated for growth and if aligned with the right vendor the margins can be healthy.

Barely a week goes by without some major malware outbreak or security breach. The digital dust was just settling on the WannaCry ransomware attack, which if you recall took down a significant number of NHS organisations, and then along came Petya (or NotPetya).

Just ahead of this was the news that email systems were breached in Parliament. It wasn’t stated overtly, but reading between the lines hackers had got hold of email addresses and applied brute force cracking techniques to gain the passwords for about 90 accounts.

Clearly, despite regular malware outbreaks and privacy breaches which often make it into the mainstream media, people and organisations still need to be educated about the importance of cyber security. 

Just look at the NHS organisations running unprotected versions of Windows XP and the government pulling the plug on an XP support contract. Updating operating systems is as fundamental as locking your front door and closing the windows when you leave the house. 

Another area where we’re starting to see more security breaches is smart devices. BullGuard research reveals that large numbers of people simply don’t trust the security of these connected devices. 

A survey of 2,000 UK adults who own smart devices revealed that eight in 10 are worried cyber criminals could hack into their smart tech, while 91 per cent were concerned that hackers could monitor their every move. The survey also revealed that one in three people are not aware of the possible security risks faced by their gadgets such as the hacking of baby monitors, door locks and even fridges. 

A different survey revealed that up to one fifth of UK citizens are set against the introduction of smart meters into their homes because of security concerns. That’s millions of households. 

Smart device adoption is taking off in the US and is set to become mainstream across Europe in the coming 12 to 18 months. Resellers that get ahead of the curve and understand the issues will be in pole position when the smart wave does break. 

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