Staying safe during the holidays


Secure your stuff !

Secure your stuff !

Secure your stuff !

I cannot repeat this enough times. You can create beautiful software, build beautiful houses, beautiful pieces of art, and other creations. However, if you do not secure them then it’s all for naught.

We are in the season of merrymaking, joy, and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Yes, this is a time to be happy. And it is also a time to be vigilant.

This is a ripe period for thieves and cybercriminals. This is when they gear up. They start to rub their hands at all the possible loopholes which might be left open. And this is because this is the period we are all very likely to be sending payment transactions online and also to withdraw cash. Withdraw a lot of cash.

Consequently, attackers would be monitoring web traffic from now and well into the new year.

You do not have to be a victim. Here are a few things you can do to avoid the traps criminals might be laying for you.

Lock up

Whether it is your house, your car, or your other values, remember to lock them up. Locking up includes all the seemingly irrelevant access points. These include your windows and your doors. The world has become a much more dangerous place to live in. Hence do not take your safety for guaranteed.

For instance, in the middle of November, I witnessed first-hand a rideshare driver has this phone stolen, right in the middle of traffic. How did this happen you ask? One pedestrian engaged him with a question whilst another one swiftly snatched the phone from the other side of the car.

What could he have done to prevent the theft, you ask? He only needed to roll up his side windows! Unfortunately, he did not, and he had his phone stolen.

In this season of merrymaking, I am convinced once you do the bare minimum in locking up, then you should be safe.

Do not talk to strangers

I would also like to extend this advice to include not chatting with strangers online. There have been lots of cyberbully stories in recent times. Hence, be wary of people who come on your social media DMs asking you all sorts of questions.

After all, there was a very good reason why our parents asked us to not talk to strangers when we were young.

Do not visit strange sites whether physical or virtual

Do not visit strange websites. This also includes sites that claim to give unwarranted freebies.

A lot of fake websites would also come up during this season. These sites would entice people to try and make purchases. The aim is to capture and harvest the credit card credentials.

If you are like most people, then your password either follows a similar structure or at worst is the same password on multiple websites. 😩

It only takes one careless employee to bring down an entire organization. Once you put your password on one fake website, then that is it. The hacker could then use these details to access your website or portal. At this point, your company is done for if it does not have brute force prevention or some level of account lockout.

In addition to visiting potentially dangerous sites, remember not to visit unknown areas or red zones where incidents of theft are common. If you want to go to a part of town you are unsure of, ask someone who knows that section of town very well.

Follow recommended advice

We are always told what we should be doing. However, we hardly ever follow it. For instance,

  • do not visit sites with no SSL encryption
  • do not walk out at midnight

Simply follow the advice of your information security team. Your team has been put together to help you stay safe. In addition to the advice above, they would have many other sage tips to guide you through this holiday season.

You can also reach out to any cybersecurity professional for advice.

Be your brother’s keeper

This is one reason I like compound houses. Unfortunately, this is becoming a thing of the past.

It is more difficult for a theft to happen in a compound house as compared to a self-contained home. If a theft does happen in a compound, then it was most likely an inside job.

With the way the law of karma works, if you do not help then nobody will help you out in your time of need.

Conclusion

To summarize my advice is to

  • lock up
  • be your brother’s keeper
  • follow recommended advice
  • not go to unfamiliar sites or locations
  • not talk to strangers on the internet

Finally, I leave you with these words my boss told me.

“Every day is for the careless or the carefree and one day is for the thief”

Thank you for reading, and enjoy the holidays. 🎄

Anthony Eli Agbenu would love to get in touch
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