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Two steps, too easy

TECH TALK

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Ronald Reagan may very well have said that the most terrifying words in the English language were “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, but believe me there are many government agencies out there providing fantastic tools, advice, and services for small and medium sized businesses. Real, tangible, and valuable help.

In last month’s column I wrote about the resources and advice available from the Privacy Commissioner and this month it’s time to promote the services of CERT NZ.

The Computer Emergency Response Team was set up in 2016 to receive cyber incident reports, track cyber security incidents or attacks and provide advice and alerts on how to respond and prevent further attacks. CERT NZ works with counterpart agencies across the world and other NZ agencies such as NetSafe, the Department of Internal Affairs and NZ Police.

CERT NZ’s “Two Steps, Too Easy” campaign runs from 22 May 2023 to 22 June 2023. This campaign supports SMBs by promoting examples of companies who are using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to protect their business and customer data.

Visit their website at www.cert.govt.nz to view their resources and subscribe to their updates. You can customise the information that you are presented with by selecting Individual, Business or IT Specialists.

This campaign includes advice from SMB owners who received dodgy invoices, fraudulent customer orders, contact from alleged suppliers who weren’t legitimate and suffered financial and/or data loss. They’re all saying that implementing 2FA plays an important part in reducing risk and relieving anxiety about future attacks. Their stories and experiences are relatable.

2FA is a security system that requires two distinct forms of identification in order to access something. The first factor is a password, and the second factor may include a text sent to your smartphone or email and biometrics using your fingerprint, face or retina. While 2FA does improve security it is not fool proof. Not implementing 2FA is, however, foolish.

Who are you going to call if you ever receive a message on your computer that reads something like, “Your network has been penetrated and your files are encrypted by x. If for some reason your read this text before the encryption ended, this can be understood by the fact that the computer slows down, and your heart rate has increased due to the inability to turn it off, then we recommend you move away from the computer and accept that you have been compromised.”? You’re going to need government help as well as the assistance of your trusted IT support company.

You have a responsibility to your business, your staff, your clients and yourself to take cybersecurity seriously before you need it.

Ronald Reagan also said, “To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.”

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Yvonne Blanch
Yvonne Blanch
Yvonne Blanch is an Account Manager at Stratus Blue. She can be contacted at yvonne@stratusblue.co.nz

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