||Central Bank Of Barbados
“Cybersecurity is a weakest link thing,” asserts George Thomas, Deputy Chief Information Officer at CIBC FirstCaribbean. So, as more and more Barbadians begin to use e-banking and other online services – Thomas says adoption “went through the roof after COVID” – it’s important that everyone, not just financial institutions, regulators, or Government, know how to keep information safe.
During a forum on “Technology and Customer Service in the Financial Sector”, which was hosted by the Central Bank of Barbados and the Financial Services Commission, Thomas was asked by a participant what the average person can do to protect themselves online.
Use Antivirus Software
“As long as you’re online, you want to have an up-to-date subscription of antivirus software running on all your devices – not just your desktop – your laptop, your phone, your tablets, and so on.”
Develop Good Online Habits and “Hygiene”
Thomas says you should be circumspect when you receive emails from unknown senders, even if on the surface they seem legitimate. “When I receive emails from people I have never received emails from, even if they look like businesses, I automatically send them for vetting.” He says he adopted this practice in recent years because of the increase in financial fraud.
Protect Your Passwords
Thomas urges people not to use easy-to-guess passwords, and warns against sharing your password with other people. He also encourages you to change the default password on your modem. “You don’t make it easy for people to gain access to you and your devices.”
Be Careful What You Post on Social Media
Thomas says that while we often associate poor online practices with older generations, who tend to be less tech savvy, digital natives like Millennials (people born roughly between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (those born roughly between 1997 and 2015) often put themselves at risk by sharing indiscriminately online. “People really enjoy posting and discussing, and talking about their lives and so on. But just know that there’s an algorithm out there capturing that data and analysing you over time and understanding you. And then there are humans behind that algorithm that are going to take decisions on what to do. And all of those people are not good actors.”
At the end of the day, Thomas believes that protecting yourself and your data comes down to doing the basics. “It’s looking left and looking right; it’s don’t talk to strangers. The things we were trained to do but translated to digital form.”