Tips to protect your data in the age of cybercrime

(iStock)
(iStock)

Pretoria - The public should be cautious about the information they put out on social media, researchers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) warned.

CSIR researchers Dr Vukosi Marivate, Muyowa Mutemwa, Nyalleng Moorosi and Thulani Mashiane on Monday showcased their research on social mining data, network vulnerability and data science for public safety and cybersecurity awareness at a briefing in Pretoria.

Social media users were urged to check permission lists when downloading applications and to refrain from installing suspicious applications

“Don’t over share, think before you click. Personal information can be used to answer security questions for certain accounts, identity theft, direct marketing and by stalkers,” said Mashiane, who is a researcher in data science. 

She also advised parents to monitor games children play as they can be targeted by cybercriminals.

Mashiane highlighted a game by the name Blue Whale, which mainly targets vulnerable teenagers and assigns tasks to them. The final challenge requires the player to commit suicide.

“In this game, participants are expected to share photos of the challenges completed by them. This includes cutting themselves, killing animals and eventually killing themselves.”

Social media users were also warned about using public and open networks for banking transactions. “Cybercriminals love public open networks such as internet café networks, coffee shop WiFi and conference WiFi. Use a secure network for banking. No banking or social networking on public WiFi,” advised Mutemwa, a senior cyber security specialist. 

Cybercriminals target open networks such as internet café internet café networks, coffee shop WiFi and conference WiFi, he said.

Social media can also be used to combat crime, said Marivate, the acting research group leader. “We are developing a tool to help law enforcement agencies, government and NGOs in understanding the trends in crime and public safety,” he said. 

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