CSIR talks cyber security
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has warned people to be more responsible with information shared online.
The council has also emphasised that information shared on social networks like Twitter and Facebook must be more closely filtered.
With October being International Cyber Security Awareness month, the Cyber Defence Research Group of the CSIR will be hosting a series of talks on cyber security awareness-related topics.
The talks will include practical cyber security awareness tips, tricks and policies; address mobile phone hacking, cyber terrorism and information warfare; conduct live fire exercises; and cover social networking and social media.
"Sharing personal information online about ourselves and those around us has become second nature; to the extent that we are not aware when we actually do it. Our children, friends, partners, helpers and even colleagues have inadvertently posted pictures online, whether it is a picture of you at a team-building exercise, or a picture of your new car showing its registration number outside your house, which might also happen to have the address in bold. All this information can be used against you by cyber criminals," says CSIR researcher Zama Dlamini.
She explains that information regarded as private includes - but is not limited to - bank and credit card numbers, income, ID numbers, full names, street addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, the names and addresses of children's schools, and photos.
Dlamini warns that this type of private information should not be shared with strangers, nor made available online, as it can be easily accessed by cyber criminals.
"This is the information that is often required to legitimately open new charge accounts, buy online or borrow money. If cyber criminals were to get hold of it, they could use it while pretending to be you. They can even marry you off to a stranger without your knowledge or consent. Victims usually do not know that they have been victimised until collection agencies begin pursuing them to cover debts they did not even know they had."
The Internet has no boundary, and therefore it is important that technology users are made aware of what could go wrong, says the CSIR.