I’ll Send You that File How many times each day do you say, “I’ll send you that file” or something very similar? If you are anything like me, more times than you want to admit. We all share data daily and the frequency and amount of data shared shows no sign of diminishing, if anything file sizes and quantity just keep growing year on year.
With all this movement of data do we ever stop and think just what it is that we are sending across the internet? How many of those shared chunks of data contain sensitive information? Now you don’t have to be working for MI5 to have sensitive information, we all have such data on our PCs, laptops, iPads etc. Personal information such as bank account details, contracts even very simple stuff like friends addresses, telephone numbers. In a world where identity theft is a very real and growing problem should we not be taking much more care of this data? I for one think we should.
Identifying the Threat It is easy to become paranoid when you start thinking about cyber security, assessing the risk is not always as easy as you would think. For instance; what are the risks of sending a clear text email?
Well firstly your email will travel across the internet via any number of servers before it reaches your intended recipient. At each of these servers it is possible for the data to be read and copied, even read and amended. Now this is generally not the case, however conceptually it is possible. I’m sure big brother is reading all our communications these days, justified as part of the fight against terrorism. But concerns about interception are just part of the story. Copies of your emails are generally saved as sent items, this can be on your device but equally it can be on your internet provider’s server. What level of security exists there? And as the receiver of that email how certain are you that the sender is who you think it is?
So you see just looking at one possible way we share data it isn’t easy even feasible for us to truly evaluate the risk. What we tend to do is just press send and then forget about it.
Responsible Adult Is it good enough to carry on like this? As responsible adults should we be doing more to protect ourselves, our friends and our business partners from becoming the target of some sleazy cyber-criminal? We definitely should! Just recently I was subjected to an identity theft attack and I can tell you it was no fun sorting that one out. So what should we be considering?
Secure Email and File Transfer The obvious answer to all of these concerns is data encryption. And before you say it, it doesn’t have to be complicated, costly or impossible to understand. The latest generation of email encryption products offer real ease of use some additionally allow the encrypted transfer of even very large files all in just a couple of clicks. Now if you have ever tried using email or file encryption in the past you are probably thinking apart from all the complexities involved I’ll have to get my friends and colleagues to buy into the same product so this is a non starter. Well you might be surprised to learn that some secure email products such as Egress’s Switch offer all the above functionality and more, whilst being free to use as the recipient. So there really should be no excuse.
Summary Well I hope this has given you food for thought. Don’t wait until you become the target of an attack. Take responsibility for securing your communications. No one will thank you for allowing their personal data to be left at risk. Do it today.