With the mighty Murrumbidgee River swollen after recent major flooding in the New South Wales town of Wagga Wagga, the IDCARE CROC team braved the mozzies and mud and held a variety of cyber safety sessions for the community.
In a highly effective partnership with the local Tech Savy seniors group and the Wagga library, around 50 residents attended with keen interest after the second major data breach in as many months - this time it was Medibank. There were around 10 Medibank customers in the audience and they spoke of their disappointment over the issue but also the fact that they are now more worried about what other organisations they deal with may be at similar risk. This fear was shared across the group, as well as the difficulties for seniors in keeping track ofall their online accounts and the need for so much day-to-day business to be done online such as banking and bill paying.
As IDCARE sees with every CROC presentation, the level of awareness around cybercrime is growing all the time. Australians are listening to the news reports and asking questions of their various providers, seeking to ensure their information is safe. The appetite for discussions around the likely marketplace for the Optusand Medibank data files - the Dark Web - created significant interest, with many amazed that such a place cannot be controlled by law enforcement.
As always,the key messages around password management, multi-factor authentication and keeping an eye on online accounts was the easiest and most effective task for all to carry out as their homework going forward. One gentleman was able to demonstrate on his own device the easy functionality of a password manager, from logins with his own Face-ID biometrics to the pre-filling of username and password data automatically. This led to many feeling empowered to tackle the growing cybercrime risk.
Local community radio station AAA’s morning radio program, which is a ratings performer beating most commercial stations, was generous enough to allow an extended interview covering our core points but also some in depth coverage of the Medibank and Optus situation. We were able to remind folks to head to the IDCARE website for fact sheets on each. It was also a good opportunity to thank Westpac publicly for their support of the CROC program with some questions around funding of IDCARE and how we operate. It’s worth mentioning that follow-on interviews have been sought from two radio stations that had previously held interviews for CROC when we were in their location but were now interested in continuing the conversation around cyber-resilience. A nice example of an enduring legacy starting to build.
When you listen to talk back radio or watch the nightly news, there’s definitely a sense that most in the community at present are thinking about their online safety, and this was brought home during a presentation to a local residents group when an audience member asked if her investment in the care provider managing her finances was in fact safe. This led to an informative discussion from the local facility manager by which assurances were made. However as demonstrated by such widespread breaches to such large organisations in recent times, residents were made aware that all behaviours have levels of risk and to do their best to minimise this risk as much as possible by applying the techniques learned during our cyber resilience session.