Shakespeare wrote that all the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
Once a business connects itself to the information superhighway or Internet, it places itself in plain sight on the world stage. Seven bad actors wait in the wings, ready to play their part in the story of an unsuspecting business. Some bad actors appear early when a business is taking off and cyber awareness is not developed. Others appear later, once a business is mature, and hard-won business assets are visible to all seven actors.
The seven bad actors are identity thieves, foreign intruders, extortionists, blackmailers, terrorists, bad apples and rotten eggs. With the right knowledge and regular investment in cyber-security, a firm can keep all seven bad actors at bay.
Identity thieves are the most common bad actors in our hyper-connected world of login names, passwords, credit cards and bank accounts. Dens of identity thieves aim to obtain your personal or financial information. Once your information is obtained, it is used for personal gain, to make purchases or on-sell your identity or credit card details via the web to the highest bidder.
Most identity thefts occur via phone, text, online forms or e-mail. Phone callers can be the most convincing and brazen. For unsolicited phone callers, ask them to give you a telephone number to call them back on before you share any personal information, such as your date of birth, physical address, account information or login details. You can also contact the company they purport to work for before proceeding.
During the pandemic lockdowns, online shopping and home delivery behaviour sky-rocketed. As a result, identity thieves sent out delivery notifications via text containing malicious links, which millions of unsuspecting consumers clicked on. Delivery notification messages should not be activated but deleted instead. To track a shipment safely, log in to your customer account and check your delivery status there.
Buying via the web often requires entering name and address details into a webform, along with credit card details. Only shop online with a trusted brand from your own country or a known global brand. If a web form requests your date of birth, driver's license, or passport details, avoid that website.
The others six bad actors are foreign intruders, extortionists, blackmailers, terrorists, bad apples and rotten eggs. Each require specific strategies to combat them. The details of all seven bad actors and how to protect against them are contained in my latest book, The Strategic Accountant, which can be purchased with free shipping from the website Store.