According to a report commissioned by ANZ, cyber crime has a $3 trillion impact on the global economy.  Trillion, that’s a lot of zeros.  Given it’s such a shady area, exact stats are hard to pin down, but it’s clear, this is a BIG DEAL.  The proliferation of this online crime means that increasingly, ‘smaller fish’ are being targeted.  And by ‘smaller fish’, we mean small business and individuals, as this cohort rarely have measures in place to detect and counteract these dodgy buggers.

Many of us underestimate the prevalence of cyber crime because it isn’t as visible as other forms of crime – we don’t see police cars racing around or property damage like we might in traditional crime, but the numbers are alarming.  According to FICO, 4% of kiwi’s know their identity has been stolen, with a further 6% believing that it has probably happened.  And identity theft is just one form of cyber-crime – there are many, many more.

So, what can you do?  If you want to participate in modern society, it’s not possible to completely avoid these risks, but you can put basic protections in place.  When you leave the house in the morning, do you lock your house up?  The same sort of discipline should be true for your online presence.  CERT NZ has this top 11 tips for cyber security that is a good place to start.  You can find it here.

And the reason that we are writing about cyber security this month?  Because if you use Xero, they are asking you (and by ‘asking’ what we really mean is ‘making it mandatory’) to use multi-factor authentication to log into Xero.  While at a philosophical level, we don’t like being pushed into something… multi-factor authentication is a really sensible idea for anything to do with sensitive information.  We think having multi-factor authentication for anything ‘sensitive’ online is a must do, and we’ve been using it for Xero for quite some time.  If you use Xero, click here to find out more around how to set it up – you might as well get on with it!

On a semi-related note, if you want to hear a particularly dystopian view of how far this can go, have a listen to this.

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