Jamaicans urged to protect themselves online

Head of the Cyber Incident Response Team (CIRT) in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Moniphia Hewling, is reminding Jamaicans about the importance of safeguarding their personal information as they navigate the online space.

Security measures

“We tell people that once you’re going online, you need security measures to protect yourself, just like in normal physical life, where you put on a raincoat or get an umbrella if it’s raining and you look left and right when you’re going to cross the road,” she said.

Hewling was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, where she provided some useful online safety tips, as the CIRT marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month during October.

“Once you’re going online, you need security measures to protect yourself.”

— Dr Moniphia Hewling, head of the Cyber Incident Response Team

She said persons should ensure that all devices used for browsing have privacy and security settings and that these are updated.

In addition, she said that access to devices should be protected by a password. She recommended that passwords should be complex and include phrases. 

“Use a phrase instead of just a word and combine it with the usual letters and characters,” she advised.

Online banking

Hewling is urging particular caution as it relates to online banking.

“We just need to be aware. When someone calls and sounds pretty nice and say that they’re calling from your bank and asking for your password that should be a no, no. It should be a red flag for you,” she said.

She further urged persons to be vigilant when shopping online.  “We’re coming up to Christmas now, and we ask that you just take that extra time to look at the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) (for the shopping site) to ensure that it has the basic security setting,” she said.

Hewling noted that while these measures are not foolproof, they provide some basic level of security.