Cyber security is an issue that we can never take lightly judging from the presentation by Tyrus Kamau, a founding member of the Africa Hackon. The masterclass at Digital Camp Kenya, titled ‘Digital security Explained’, enlightened the participants on the vulnerabilities they may expose themselves to even as they venture in the digital technology.

Tyrus told us how he got into hacking, “It was a way to kill the boredom when I was in campus.” It was during this pastime that he stumbled upon vulnerabilities in different organizations’ systems. It is through pointing out some of these vulnerabilities that he got his first internship. “Different people do hacking for different purposes”, Tyrus said. He explained that even children can be hackers.

“Don’t just hop into new and emerging technology, ask yourself how safe is it before trying it”, he cautioned. “Beware of mobile banking apps as many are easily hacked into”, said Tyrus.

He gave an example of a bank whose systems had been hacked onto causing loss of large sums from several accounts. “There needs to be insider co-operation for someone to hack into a bank system. There is always collusion”, he explained. Tyrus mentioned that 80% of hacking incidents are from external sources while 20% are internally driven by employees.

There are several safety measures that he pointed out for people to take while online. He cautioned against accessing bank accounts online on free, public Wi-Fi. “Your information can be easily stolen, giving access to your money”, he advised.

“You can change your banking pin regularly. It does no harm having assurance that your money is safe”, he added a cautionary measure.

He mentioned that children can expose you to fraud by innocently feeding your bank details into suspect sites. “That’s why it is important to monitor what your kids are doing online”, he added. He also cautioned against opening strange emails because most of them are targeted towards gaining access to your system.

Tyrus asked, “Did you know ATM cards can be easily cloned while inside your wallet?”  As a safety measure, one is supposed to stack their ATM card in between other cards, cover the ATM card in metallic foil paper or use a metallic wallet. “All these measures distort the signal sent by the card”, the IT guru advised.

Finally, he told the audience to be careful when using cards to make payment. “You might be cloned and eventually hacked”, he concluded.

From this session, it seemed that we are exposed to so much vulnerabilities online, yet we need technology to ease our daily function. The best thing is to know the risks and tread with caution.

Tyrus blogs at Tyrus the InfoSec Black Magician and you can also connect with him on @tyrus_