Dire warning about cyber security

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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CO-CEO OF UPGUARD: Mike Baukes.

CO-CEO OF UPGUARD: Mike Baukes.

The fast running internet that will be enabled once the Samoa Submarine Cable is up and running, also has fast running security issues. 

That is why Samoa needs to be vigilant when it comes to security, says Mike Baukes, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of UpGuard based in California. 

Mr Baukes founded a Software Company called Upgard and they look at digital risk and digital security for some of the largest companies in the world. 

Mr Baukes was the keynote speaker at the Cyber Seminar hosted by the Ministry of  Communication, Information and Technology earlier this week. 

“There are a multitude of different threats out there that you need to be aware of." 

“The problem isn't just restricted to people coming on the island and trying to do skimming of ATMs." 

“It’s really all of you being prepared to deal with this." 

“How will you respond to it? How will you be able to identify it?"

"Do you even know what you have? Do you how to control it?” 

Mr Baukes noted the need to understand the risk of that supply chain. 

“And if you understand all these components you're in a better place to actually defend yourself." 

“The reality is most people that come here and most organizations that probably come here to sell software, are more focused on making money." 

“When the reality is you're about to get all this internet and you really need to prepare yourself for the future of this." 

“It can be a revolutionary thing if you take it into account, but the reality of it is that most of you think that, nothing much will change... I’m here to tell you that a lot will change." 

“If you don't protect the critical infrastructure to start with, you’re probably going to have outages, with your banks, hospitals etc." 

“As more and more technology becomes infused in the way that you live life, it’s not just your phone and Facebook, it becomes more and more about how do you know that, that person you’re actually talking is the same person you expect." 

"How do you understand their motivations, how do you trust them.... 'Most of you are aware of technology but do you trust it?'” said Baukes.  

He also cautioned about scammers who pretend to be your family members when inreality they are not. 

“The reality is, these are problems are happening everywhere and more importantly, it’s not Samoa’s fault that you’re in this situation,” he pointed out. 

According to Mr Baukes, Samoa is about to have this abundance of technology available and we’re probably not quite ready for it. "And we have to start thinking now on how we’re going to secure it."  

He commented that only one local bank has a visa chip, that’s on their credit cards. 

Mr Baukes further pointed out that a lot of companies, may seem sophisticated but when you really pull the covers back they’re not really sophisticated. 

“They don't have great controls, they don't have great understanding of it." 

“I’m saying here to you all, if you start taking a stand and educating yourselves a little bit more about what the things you should do to understand technology, then you’re going to be in a much better place taking advantage of it." 

“This is not about, bringing tourism, or investing new tequila." 

“This is about you understanding that technology will change the way you do everything." 

“And people will expect a level of service, and quality to the internet when they arrive here and you’d better be ready to make sure it is trustworthy.” 

He then pointed to the recent hacking of the Social Security Office of the United States of America. 

Their company found misconfiguration on the system and as a result 4.8million Social Security Numbers were lost. 

“And more important that 4.8million people had to have their identities and numbers changed.”  

Baukes Company, Upguard helps companies around the world understand technology risk. 

“We are doing roughly seven billion calculations on everything on the internet." 

“So it could be a website, a mobile phone, email server we take all that information and we aggregate it." 

Similar to what Google does for Google search. “We do it for security though,” he said. 

Some of the companies utilizing Upguard’s services are National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Home Depot, the New York Stock exchange and United States Department of Transportation. 

“The weird thing is that probably all of you will hear is that I am a Samoan." 

“More importantly my family is from Papa Sataua. I don't have any university education, I attended school at Leifi’ifi and Australia.” 

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