• JIS News

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    • 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.
    • “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.
    • Dr. 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.

    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.

    “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.

    Dr. 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.

    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 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.

    Dr. 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.

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

    Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Anthony McLaughlin, who also addressed the Think Tank, said persons should log out of their emails whenever they are using Wi-Fi at Internet cafes and other public spaces, in order to prevent hackers from gaining access to their personal or financial information.

    ACP McLaughlin, who is Commanding Officer for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), further warned persons not to write their passwords or pin numbers on their automated teller machine (ATM) cards.

    Multifactor authentication, which is using more than one form of identification to access a device, is being encouraged for those who have the latest mobile phones.

    Additionally, it was advised that persons avoid the use of pirated software, which is software that has been downloaded and decoded.

    Director of T-Tech, Norman Chen, for his part, said persons must be careful about the information they post on social media sites.

    “Things such as the road you grew up on or even your first best friend, these I’ve seen on many people’s Facebook that they have published, so be very vigilant with social media,” he said.

    Cybersecurity Awareness Month is being observed under the theme ‘Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT’.