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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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Media release

Be careful of what you share online, CSIR warns

01 October 2012
 
With October being International Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has warned that people should be more responsible with the information they share on internet, especially on the social networks such as twitter and facebook.
 

The Cyber Defence Research Group of the CSIR will be hosting a series of talks on cyber security awareness-related topics. The talks will include practical cyber security awareness tips, tricks and policies; mobile phone hacking, cyber terrorism and information warfare; live fire exercises; and social networking and social media.

“Sharing personal information online about ourselves and those around us has become second nature; to the extent that we are not aware when we actually do it. Our children, friends, partners, helpers and even colleagues have inadvertently posted pictures online; whether it is a picture of you at a team-building exercise, or a picture of your new car showing its registration number outside your house, which might also happen to have the address in bold. All this information can be used against you by cyber criminals,” says CSIR researcher Zama Dlamini.
 
Information that is regarded as private include – but is not limited to – bank and credit card numbers, income, ID number, full names, street address, phone numbers, e-mail address, name and address of children’s school and photos.

Dlamini warns that this type of private information should not be shared with strangers nor made available online, as it can be easily accessed by cyber criminals.

“This is the information that is often required to legitimately open new charge accounts, buy online or borrow money. If cyber criminals were to get hold of it, they could use it to open accounts, buy online, and borrow money while pretending to be you. They can even marry you off to a stranger without your knowledge or consent. Victims usually do not know that they have been victimised until collection agencies begin pursuing them to cover debts they did not even know they had,” says Dlamini.
 
According to Sipho Ngobeni, also a CSIR Researcher, there are many other tricks, like hacking, that cyber criminals can use to get people’s personal information. “Once they have achieved this, they could perform malicious activities such as infecting your computer with malware, which in turn can lead to your computer being used as a botnet (internet-connected computers with breached security defences that are controlled by a ‘botmaster’); steal confidential information that resides on your computer and perhaps sell it to the black market, and use your computer to launch further criminal activities,” he says.
 
The Internet has no boundary; and therefore it is important that technology users are made aware of what could go wrong, as well as tips and tricks to protect themselves while online, she adds.

Ends
Issued by CSIR Strategic Communication and Stakeholder Relations
Tendani Tsedu
Manager: CSIR Media Relations
Tel: 012 841 3417
Cell: 082 945 1980
E-mail: mtsedu@csir.co.za   

Technical enquiries
Zama Dlamini (CSIR)
Tel: 012 841 4410
E-mail:  idlamini@csir.co.za

 
 

Contact Person
Tendani Tsedu
Email: General and technical enquiries
Tel: +27 12 841 3417

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Last updated : 01 October 2012

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