Cybercrime and how to stay safe

I’ve just been hacked…what now ? 

Senaca Shields’ Liam O’Connor spoke recently at the IrishBizParty conference in the Green Isle Hotel in Dublin.

Be Cyber Secure with Senaca ShieldAs someone who works online and specifically in web design I am more than aware of the security issues that surround all of us, updating websites to latest versions, ensuring you have a backup and being careful not to click dodgy links etc…

Be Cyber Secure with Senaca ShieldHowever Liam is a specialist in cyber crime and what he spoke about had everybody mumbling about passwords, the long finger and that list of ‘Things To Do’. I decided there and then to get him out to have a look at my computer and laptop.

Anyone who knows me knows that procrastination is not in my dictionary thus Liam came to my house last Wednesday to check the health of my computers and give me some advice on preventative measures against ransom-ware techniques.

Be Cyber Secure with Senaca ShieldLiams’ passion is obvious – he instantly engages and is busy setting up programmes to scan and check my software and hardware, chatting as he works about situations he has come across and new methods that cyber criminals are using to target their victims.

Be Cyber Secure with Senaca ShieldHe spoke of Ransom-Ware
-how they use our inherent human need to trust – where unsuspecting people (often older people) are first telephoned ( to instigate trust) and introduce themselves as Microsoft or some similar well known company before sending an email (one that looks authentic at first glance but rollover it and you soon see it is not) with a link or pdf  (usually the file name ends with pdf.exe)  that will infest their victims’ computer or smartphone stealing personal details or threatening them with claims of paedophilia content and more before literally holding their victims to ransom and asking for payment to ‘free’ them.

Be Cyber Secure with Senaca ShieldAnother common tool used by cyber criminals is curiosity
– eg when a global story hits they take out ads on Facebook and other platforms which look like video footage of the event ( eg the Missing Malaysian Airline) and when the unsuspecting user – victim – clicks on the video  –too late! Their computer is now hacked!

Be Cyber Secure with Senaca ShieldLiam advises victims not to pay the ransom as the criminals will simply leave themselves a ‘backdoor’ in to your device and do it again in a few months – a never ending circle of hell!

Liam reminded me about social engineering – where cyber criminals work hard socially – both online and offline to find out things about you that they can then use to guess your password or use for identity theft. At this stage I (nervously) asked if he was engaging in social engineering at that point – Glad to say he wasn’t and I do trust him 100%. I got top marks for thinking of it though 🙂

He pondered how Insurance companies are offering cyber insurance yet many of them do not know enough to first ensure that their customers have first provided confirmation of having implemented basic preventative measures – I think we will see a lot of fallout from that in Ireland over the coming year.

POS Systems are the latest targets for cyber crime – yes retailers, those lovely fancy new all singing POS systems are plugged into the online world that feeds on data and breaches of security that could have your shop instantly ruined!

Amazingly, many retailers (from small to some of Irelands’ largest stores) do not yet fully comprehend the risks and seem to need to experience this tragic event before they realise that investing a small amount against the potential loss of everything makes good business sense! Oh this space eh?

Liam cleaned out 4.5gb of unwanted temp files etc from each of my devices and set me up with a daily scanning programme to give me piece of mind. My computer now works much faster and I just feel better knowing that I am more secure than I was a week ago – I shall however, keep on top of it!

I leave you with his chilling quote:

” The guy you haven’t heard of is the one to be afraid of”

Contact Liam Today and Get Secure! 

Senaca Shield,Unit 12,Tougher Business Park,Newhall,Naas,Co. KildareIreland

Tel: +353 45 408 116
Fax: +353 45 408 114
Mob: +353 86 191 0200
Follow us on Twitter @SenacaShield

Enjoy this video – its an oldie but a goodie!


We got into a bit of geek chat resulting in his suggesting the following books for anyone interested in better understanding the digital world: