Cyber safety

Can you imagine turning on your computer to find that all you files are locked and encrypted with a code so you can’t access them? Welcome to the world of ransom ware…

Like most ransom situations you may have as little as two or three days or you will lose your data forever. Your files are being held hostage and generally all you can do is pay up or lose the data.

The “CryptoLocker” malware that is used to lock electronic files is becoming more prevalent and is now of major concern for organisations, especially governments at all levels. This “CryptoLocker” malware is usually delivered through an attachment or link in an email. The unsuspecting recipient simply clicks on the link, and their organisation becomes the victim of cyber-crime. The threat of ransom ware is steadily becoming a reality faced by many organisations and home computer users every day.

Campbelltown City Council have chosen this theme as an opportunity to review their organisation’s culture in relation to its use of technology, and be proactive in addressing this threat. The council’s Human Resources team have developed a dedicated Cyber Safety training program to raise awareness of this threat and address any cultural issues.

One of the drivers behind the resulting program was that preventative education is a more effective tool than punitive actions following a cyber-attack. By raising awareness of how an individual employee’s actions are a vital part of an organisation’s cyber protection strategy, Campbelltown City Council increased its own protection against possible cyber-crime, and improved employees personal safety when using technology and social media.

The program uses small group face-to-face sessions with topics including the many forms that cyber-attacks can take and how they can occur. Participants are then led to reflect on their own use of technology and assess ways that they may be vulnerable in virtual environments.

The session has been delivered to more than 270 fulltime employees and is now included in the Staff Induction program to ensure all new members of Campbelltown City Council understand their part in the organisation’s cyber protection strategy.

To complement the program, an eLearning module is currently being developed, as is a campaign to maintain awareness of cyber security throughout Council.

The success of the program has been measured through the increased reporting of “Phishing” emails and queries to the IT helpdesk regarding suspect emails. This increased awareness is supported by the results of a recent evaluation.

For Campbelltown City Council, the ultimate success of the program rests not only in an increased security awareness for the organisation by its employees, but also in employees enjoying a safer and more informed life in the their personal use of technology.