Online safety and security is a hot topic right now, in the media and here at Fire and Emergency NZ. This is because it affects us all – at work and at home. The ICT Help Desk has been busy dealing with this increase in spam emails, links to dodgy sites, and hoax phone calls. Find out what you can do at home and work to keep safe on line ...

Over the past few months in New Zealand we have seen privacy breaches from Uber, Facebook, and Vector. Russia has been accused of conducting a global campaign to compromise computer routers and firewalls. It’s also been NZ’s turn for hoax phone calls.

Our ICT Help Desk has been busy dealing with this increase in spam emails, links to dodgy sites, and hoax phone calls. As part of the interim fix, access to the network was restricted last month which unfortunately meant some of our people were not able to get onto the Portal using their mobile device. Access from mobile devices has been restored to most people. If you’re still having problems, please call the ICT Helpdesk.

Not surprisingly, more than two thirds of New Zealanders are worried about online security, according the Privacy Commission report (external link) . This was released on Wednesday as part of Privacy Week 2018. The biannual survey also found that 62 per cent of New Zealanders said they trust government organisations with their personal information, a drop of nine percent over the past four years.

Fire and Emergency NZ is part of the online community, here and overseas. We hold a lot of data - about our people and the communities we work with on our ICT networks and systems. We all have a responsibility to keep these systems and the information they contain secure. These responsibilities are set out in our ICT Acceptable Use policy and Social Media guidelines.

What you can do at work

  • Don’t open emails, answer calls, or click on links if you don’t know who they’re from.
  • If you’re going to be away from your computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone, for longer than a few minutes, put it in sleep mode or lock it. Log out of all your accounts before you hand over a shared work laptop, tablet, or cell phone to a colleague.
  • Use a strong unique password (external link) for each of your accounts. At the very least, make sure your work password is not the same as the one you use for personal accounts. Use two factor authentication (external link) if its available. Don’t share your passwords with anyone, and don’t write them down.
  • Mobile devices make it easier to do our jobs but are also at greater risk of being left on a plane, train, bus, in a café, or stolen from your vehicle. Keep FENZ devices with you or in a safe place at all times.
  • Hackers like to target mobile devices as they are usually always on, giving them more time to get into a network or system. If you’re accessing your work email or the FENZ network through your personal phone (external link) or laptop, make sure it has anti malware (external link) (anti virus, anti spyware) software installed, and keep your virus protection and operating system (external link) up to date.
  • Remember that what you think is a private online discussion or image can very easily become public. Be careful about what information you put online (external link) about yourself and others. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
  • Let the ICT Helpdesk know as soon as possible if you have:
    • lost (or think you’ve lost) a FENZ phone, computer, tablet or other mobile device
    • opened an email or clicked on a link that you think you shouldn’t have
    • received a lot of spam emails or hoax phone calls
    • a device that is running unusually slow as it may have a virus.

By reporting everything, we can more quickly build a picture of what, if any, issue we may be facing and work quickly to fix it. Call the ICT Helpdesk on 0800 374 843 (option 1) or email us at ict.support@fireandemergency.nz at any time, day or night.

What you can do at home

Screen shot of Privacy International's video on meta data and how it can be used

 

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