Monday 14th May 2018

We as a nation hear a lot of chatter about making sure we are secure online; that our identity is safe, that we have our security settings up-to-date, and not to open potential phishing emails that we definitely should NOT be clicking on.

While a lot of people are aware of their security settings, following these processes with precaution to the letter, we are inundated with information from all different angles, that some, on the other hand, don’t actually know what to listen to, what advice to take in account.

Then there are some who just aren’t paying attention at all. And by that, we mean, paying attention to your surroundings.

Are you one of those that are not paying attention to your security?

We think that we are protected, in a bubble that cannot be penetrated. We live in an age where we can be connected to everything, anyone and anything, 24 hours a day. Brilliant as this is, it does however mean that we are literally carrying sensitive and private information in our pockets, all the time. And the worst part of it? People don’t even need to have your phone stolen, or have it hacked by someone with technical skill to have your information accessed.

Commuter stories

Do you use public transport to and from work? Next time you hop on the train or bus for example, notice how many other commuters immediately after boarding, whip out their phones. It’s now time to check social media, clear out email inboxes and browse online. 

Now, while again, we are all more aware of public WIFI, using unsecured hotspots and the warnings we are given about accessing information while connected to them. This doesn’t protect us from the unintentional observer

The what now? 

While you have already now noticed just how many people have completely been absorbed on their phones during the commute, next, notice that in particularly busy times of the day, rush hour traffic if you like, where you are crammed in the train, rubbing shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers to your left and right; the unintentional observer doesn’t have to try too hard to have a good look at your screens, to see what you are scrolling through. 

In theory, this may seem innocent enough if it’s catching up on the latest funny cat videos, but what happens when it’s the passenger replying to work emails ? You’re right in the eye of fellow commuters who are able to read every line you are writing or reading. This I have witnessed firsthand, looking up to see another passenger visibly starring at a mobile screen that wasn’t his own, absorbing all the information for himself.

But before we judge the unintentional observer too harshly in this instance, I tend to then wonder in this circumstance, where if you are in such close proximity, that you can’t help but look, as there is no where else to look – where there is nothing else but a sea of mobiles starring back at you?

Be more aware

So now that you have full view of the commuters work email, you then notice that they have a security ID lanyard on. That means you essentially have access to someone’s full name, company name, and email address

Take that one step further, you then can note which stop on the train he gets off, and then using a contactless card to pay for the journey, there you have his bank details

Scary right?

With millions spent, and hours invested in security awareness campaigns, using public hotspots and being vigilant online, within one 10-minute train journey, all of this awareness could become null and void without you even noticing it. 

Top security tip 

I know (or more accurately, I hope) that people are not sitting on trains collecting this information at random. This article is just to highlight what potential dangers could be out there, to be aware of. Sitting in your bubble per say, ear phones in, head down playing on your mobile, you still need to be vigilant and alert to your surroundings. 

Thank you to Grace Tapper, Condeco Marketing Executive for writing this article.

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