How did you wake up this morning? Maybe to an alarm on your cell phone? What was your first thought? For many of us it’s “Can I sleep for another half hour?”. And, what was your last thought of the evening? Maybe you thought about whether you could watch just one more episode on your streaming service or whether it was really time for you to go to sleep. In fact, it is likely that these were the first and last risk management decisions of your day. Each of one us makes hundreds of risk management decisions whether we are at home, in our free time, or at work. Do you know the kinds of risks you are taking while navigating the digital world in our everyday life?
Do you remember the first time you made a call using a cell phone, the first time you used a GPS navigator, or the first time you found an answer to a question using an internet search engine? That may well have been twenty years ago. Things that seemed remarkable then, have for a long time now been part of our daily routine. The rate of technological development is only increasing, and the devices and services we now use have revolutionized both our work and private life. And, there does not seem to be end to this development. Rather, technology only accelerates the growth of new services and technologies. Right now, much debate is generated around AI or Artificial Intelligence, and the use and spread of other automatics and robots in our environment. Would you imagine that in twenty years the use of these machines will be as widespread as the use of smart phones today? This is completely within our reach.
Our digital environment has created enormous possibilities. But, at the same time, new threats have arisen. Sadly, the argument is often made that the human being/the employee/the member of the organisation is the weakest link when it comes to digital security. I challenge this by arguing that an informed, educated and motivated individual who uses safe devices and services enables effective and safe digital practices for organisations.
What are the most prevalent risks that users succumb to and how can you overcome these in your own actions?
Information security when using services is based on how we treat usernames and their related passwords. The most important guidelines for passwords are:
1. Always use different passwords for *important* services.
2. If a service allows for a two factor authentication process, use it. This means you will, for example, receive a SMS-code on your cell phone, which only then allows you to login to the service.
3. Make use of sufficient special characters in your passwords. An ordinary password can be made more secure by using special characters by, for example, replacing the letter ‘i’ with the numeral ‘1’, or the letter ‘o’ with the numeral ‘0’. For example, ‘radio’ is not a very good password, but ‘r@d10’ is noticeably better – but far too short alone, better use 10 or more letters.
4. Do not reveal your password to anyone. No official service or legitimate company will ask for your username or password via email or by phone.
5. A healthy dose of suspicion is the cornerstone of safe practice!
As you have no doubt noticed, you are the target of an enormous amount of different campaigns and lobbying groups through social media and email. You can try to root out hidden threats by following these guidelines:
1. With every email, consider whether you can really trust the attachment or the link that you are expected to click.
2. Be especially cautious when asked for any of your personal information. Who is the request from and why do they need it?
3. When using social media and sharing content produced by others, ask yourself whether the content can definitely be trusted and whether it is in line with your own beliefs and attitude.
4. When installing a new application, check the privileges you are giving the application. Does it, for example, need access to your contacts, your camera and your microphone? If it requires access to these, is it justified?
5. Whenever you notice anything suspicious, report it according to your organisation’s policy. If you are the victim of a scam on a particular platform outside of work, always report it as a crime.
As you can see, our way of working in a digital world is undergoing enormous changes and it requires us to be proactive in recognizing threats so that we can manage the risks. Because there is no such thing as 100% security, it is important to think about the kinds of risks you can take.
Let’s consider an example. When you approach traffic lights that are about to turn to red either on foot, on a bicycle or in a car, how do you act? Some people brake as soon as they notice the traffic lights. This kind of unexpected action, which is an over-reaction, can also cause an accident. Most people start to slow down and stop where they’re supposed to. The rest do the opposite: instead of slowing down, braking and stopping, they accelerate to get through the traffic lights. We know that trying to beat the traffic lights, does not only put the safety of the individual in question at risk, but also the safety of those in the surrounding traffic.
How does this relate to how we navigate the digital world? Unfortunately, all too often the high risk takers described in the example treat the digital world in the same way. When this kind of user receives an email which he suspects of being a scam, or even knows for sure to be one, they decide to open it out of curiosity, just to find out where the link in the email leads, risking not only their own but their organisation’s security. Digital behaviour that recklessly ignores guidelines is unacceptable . Let’s avoid pointless risks, for the sake of our own safety as well as that of our environment and our workplace.
Blog post of June 2018: What if the future of music came from the Far North? There is no doubt that Nordic and Finnish musicians play an important role in the international music scene. Every category has a Nordic touch : vocal and instrumental music, metal, traditional and contemporary music, and jazz. Unlike here in the South, there are no fixed boundaries between musical languages in the North. Every musical genre finds its place between tradition and modernity, fusing into a fertile synergy without losing its own character. This is one of the cultural strengths of the Nordic countries.
Blog post of May 2018: For several years, this small international festival has been experimenting with new curatorial practices in a fierce and open way. The festival distinguishes itself by introducing co-curating, by politicising curatorship, and by rethinking the international. Baltic Circle hereby positions itself as a forerunner and is an ideal ground to visit with students who are themselves operating in the field of “expanding curation”. Three students, their tutor (Lara Staal, independent curator and publicist) and artistic director of DAS Theatre Barbara Van Lindt visited the festival and proposed some moments of exchange. In January we invited artistic director of the Festival Satu Herrala to visit us, and engage in a conversation where we reflected upon our visit (and already anticipated a next visit, in the autumn of 2018…)
Blog post of April 2018: Less than two months ago I moved from Tokyo to Brussels, straight into the heart of Europe and the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux’s great programming for 2018! We have our excellent previous Director Aleksi Malmberg to thank for carrying out the preparations for the start of the year, as well as our amazing team, with whom I now have the privilege of adding new initiatives and ideas to the programme.
Blog post of February 2018: “Okay, so there’s nothing here on the Sami people”, I noticed at the end of an introductory tour of the House of European History. I was visiting the relatively new House of European History at the beginning of February as part of a group of twenty odd individuals involved in the Remembering 1918 programme. Each one of us had the task that day of leading our own public tours of the House of European History. After the introductory tour, we were given a few hours to prepare to offer our own views on the museum’s exhibition which deals with European history.
Blog post of January 2018: “Last autumn, my colleague Timo Wright and I sat down for a cup of coffee in Helsinki’s city centre. Our gallery, Unknown Cargo, had not seen any major activities for about year now and we were both itching to start a new project. Timo had been toying with the idea of running some kind of residency programme for a while and brought it up again. The idea appealed to me immediately and that meeting became the beginning of Artist Residency Swap, or ARS. ‘ARS’ was used at first only as a working title, but we grew to like it so much that it became the final project name.”
Blog post of November 2017:
Hundreds of Brusselians yell the Finnish curse word with devoted rolling R’s. And again!
Belgium’s first Feminist Curse Night is here. First of its kind outside Finland, where the concept was created by feminist think tank Hattu. They have organised nearly ten of these events in Finland, all very popular, and to honour the country’s centenary year, Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux and Beursschouwburg cultural centre have brought the concept to the very heart of Europe.