Be careful when using public Wi-Fi, and make your password a complete sentence. You may think you have nothing to hide, but you definitely have something to protect. This is the advice of Laura Andeweg, Cyber Security & Data Privacy Consultant at CYSSEC. She is happy to share some hints to increase your digital resilience at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, on the road and at home.
CYSSEC stands for Cyber Synergie Schiphol Ecosysteem. The goal of CYSSEC is to increase the digital resilience of organisations and persons at Schiphol and to inform them about digital security.
Laura: ‘The concept of chain dependence is key: what is the likelihood of an incident, what is the impact when one link in the digital chain of the Schiphol ecosystem goes out of action.’ The airport hosts some five hundred companies, with a total of over 67,000 employees. They are often interdependent, including in case one of their IT systems gets hacked.
Together with her colleague Fokko Dijksterhuis, Laura provides information to IT specialists, entrepreneurs, managers and employees. ‘You can set yourself apart as an organisation by having sound IT management and privacy. About three hundred people subscribe to the (free) CYSSEC newsletter, in which we offer tips and tools on what companies can do in different scenarios. These can also be found on our website, CYSSEC.nl. Our target group varies from shops to airlines, from cargo forwarders to hotel chains and government organisations,’ Laura explains.
According to Laura, ‘Sometimes it’s time-consuming and expensive to take preventive measures, but the consequences will be huge if you don’t.’ As an example, she cites an SME that was hit by a phishing email. The upshot was over 100,000 euros worth of damage. Laura: ‘Companies have even gone bankrupt because of this sort of incident.’
CYSSEC can support entrepreneurs, employers and IT specialists in determining what they need, and so formulate a specific security commission. The key word is partnership: after all, the name CYSSEC includes the term ‘synergy’.
Online alert month
This October is online alert month, a month dedicated to promoting awareness of cybersecurity. CYSSEC organises a wide range of activities and has several blogs on subjects such as ‘the links between cybersecurity, ethics and artificial intelligence.’ The Base will host a cybersecurity escape room, where a maximum of three persons have ten minutes to try to escape.
‘A fun way to spend a lunch break,’ says Laura. People can also participate in seminars and interesting sessions. Through Spot they can enrol in a Kick-Off session, at which the National Cyber Security Centre will explain its threat assessment. In addition, an employee of the logistics company Maersk will talk about the large ransomware attack the company had to face down, and there will a competition to come up with a new slogan for CYSSEC.
Travelling is Laura’s passion. She went to Uruguay this year, and her next holiday will take her to Panama. Naturally, she has quite a few tips for digital travellers too. Laura: ‘When you log in to a public Wi-Fi network – such as at Schiphol or in a hotel lobby – make sure to use a VPN. Look up what this means and install it on your device, but make sure you do this at home or at work before travelling. Jut like we pack our suitcase, we need to ‘pack’ and secure our phones, laptops and tablets. If you lose a device that you also use in a professional capacity, tell your employer or the IT department, as they can block the device from a distance.’
Learning on the Spot
Closer to home, at Schiphol, Laura joined the Spot Community a year ago. Laura: ‘It’s an easy and low-threshold way of meeting people from a very diverse range of companies.’ She already took part in a wine tasting, while a boot camp is still on her wish list. ‘I do find it’s mainly the younger employees who join in these activities. There’s a missed opportunity there that affects everyone, as young people can learn from those with experience and vice versa, both in the real world and in the digital world.’