Friday 27th October 2017

Beat Cyber Criminals, Become a Software Developer Today

We had an incredibly informative and important day at 3aaa Stoke academy recently. Tracy Pound, successful business owner of IT Maximity and the 2016 winner of PRC’s Women of the Year award presented her masterclass on Cyber Security to our learners, partnered employers and staff.

Tracy’s masterclass made an influence on everyone in the room. Whether you are a large business owner or a young adult looking to start your first career, technology is a part of everything we do. This is only going to expand further, meaning we must start to protect our online information and data.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the attempt to protect your cyber environment from others. Many different methods such as coding are used to do this, but as Tracy explained in her masterclass there are approaches that everyone with internet devices can do to shield information from criminals and hackers.

As Tracy has been working in the IT industry for more than 30 years, she has seen the dramatic evolution of technology. Now, in 2017, nearly all companies are classed as an IoT company. IoT is The Internet of Things and is basically anything that uses the internet to work, example; cars, phones and even fridges can now be an IoT.

Due to the development of technology and the effect it has had on revolutionising products and services, the internet is now a part of everything we sell, buy and do. The problem with this is that many of these companies need technological advances to keep up with competitors, yet they don’t understand the background of computing. Therefore, businesses are not putting the correct security measures in place to protect them from others hacking, or breaking, their technology system. Criminals can break into an IoT device in less than 2 minutes, and when they do so, all customer information, financial information and more can be stolen.

This is why it is so important to educate businesses on cyber security and support more people into cyber security and software development jobs. With an estimated 50 billion IoT devices being used worldwide in 2020, protecting our data and private conversations will be one of the main priorities for all businesses in the near future.

Why do cyber criminals hack our devices?

Cyber criminals hack into others IoT devices for many reasons including:

  • To commit fraud
  • For child grooming
  • Surveillance
  • Financial theft
  • Espionage
  • Cyberwarfare

How we can protect companies and ourselves

There are at least 4,000 cyber-attacks every day and unfortunately, it is much easier to hack into IT systems than it is to protect them. So, what can we do as individuals and organisations to stop this happening?

First of all, we need to know the facts to realise the extremity of the problem. Did you know that 1 in 131 emails are malicious? Or that hackers can put spyware into your IT system and watch what you are doing for at least 146 days before being detected? The usage of IoT is going to be in sectors and homes all over the world and this is why cyber security is paramount.

Personal Information

Cyber criminals have trained themselves in the psychology of people. They know how people think and use this to their advantage. Every day people create and use passwords that they can remember easily, such as house numbers or dates of birth. With the emergence of social engineering, hackers now find your information through your social media accounts and start to piece together the sort of security questions and passwords you have created. When we post our personal life on the internet, we are almost giving cyber criminals our private data.

Here is an example to help explain the process:

A hacker finds your Facebook account, they see your date of birth. They wait. They see that you have posted on Facebook that you went into the Santander bank this morning, they wait. You then post about your mother, so the hacker now knows your mother’s name. They wait. Once they have enough of your personal information, that you have given to them, they can access your bank account.

Now that is a very simple version of what happens, as cyber criminals will have to do a lot more such as coding and installing malware, but this is a great way to show people how we are allowing hackers to attack our systems by not thinking before we post to social media.

Another way to protect your personal IoT devices from cyber criminals is by always asking before acting. If you receive an email or text message asking you for personal details, the sender may not always be who they say they are. Hackers can use software to display a fake name or number, meaning you think you’re sending your details to someone you know, but you’re not. Make sure that you always clarify with the person through another means before sending confidential information.

By switching off your location services on your IoT device, you aren’t being tracked. This may seem an obvious tip, but many people aren’t even aware they have it turned on. Do you know how many applications are connected to your location? The majority of people don’t actually understand how the privacy settings work. Some apps do require a location to function, for example, the Google map app is going to need your location to give you accurate driving directions. But you should always ask yourself “why does this application need my location?” If you can’t think of a reason, then turn it off.

If you are connected to the internet through a Hotspot, you should never enter personal information as you don’t know who has access to this. It is also good to know that Facebook is the largest database collector in the world, so think carefully before posting.

Business data

Companies are just as at risk of cyber hacks as individuals. Not only has it been estimated that IoT will bring £8 trillion to the global economy by 2025 but IoT devices will become more and more commercial in the near future. So how can companies protect their technology systems from cyber criminals?

Businesses need a highly qualified cyber security team. These people can do system updates and put the right programming into IoT devices to ensure that cyber criminals cannot access the data.

Because of the constant advancement of technology, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by 2021. This is triple the amount that there is now, meaning that cyber security is a great career to get into. We can only fill these important job roles by educating and supporting the next generation into cyber security careers.

3aaa Apprenticeships are dedicated to growing the cyber security workforce with our software and technology programmes. Our Software Developer training programmes equip learners with the knowledge and skills they need to build and protect business IT systems. If you’re interested in becoming a Software Developer, you have chosen a prosperous career route to take. Less than half the jobs in cyber security involve coding, so if you don’t think that job role is for you there are many more roles to look into.

By becoming a Software Developer, you can rest assured that you will never have the same two days, cyber security is constantly evolving meaning your job will too. Have a look at 3aaa’s Outstanding Software Development programmes:

Level 3 Software Development

Level 4 Software Developer

Without cyber security experts, we could see a £321 billion cost to the global economy because of cyber criminals. We all must change our attitude to cyber safety and educate everyone on the right security measures to ensure societies, organisations and individuals are safe from harm.

If you would like more information on Cyber Security, watch 3aaa Apprenticeships’ Playlist – Cyber Security Masterclass with Industry Leader, Tracy Pound.

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