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02 Mar 2017
Dutch should act to keep their personal data safe

The Netherlands is engaged in a race with cybercrime, writes a report just out by the Rathenau Instituut, a Dutch research organisation focusing on developments in science and technology. The report offers several recommendations to protect against cybercrime.

People in the Netherlands make more use of ICT than people in other countries, the report says, but they’re lagging when it comes to general awareness of the risks of cybercrime. For example, Dutch individuals and small businesses tend to use passwords that are just not strong enough. In general, they don’t make regular backups to protect their files against encryption by ransomware. And all too often, they have set their phones or tablets to connect automatically to Wi-Fi networks, even when they are not sure that these networks are properly secured. These are just a few examples of the simple measures which Dutch individuals and businesses can take to strengthen their internet security, the researchers write.

Watch out for smart devices
In addition, people should ask themselves whether it is wise to purchase all kinds of smart devices connected to the internet. It is unclear whether the devices are secure enough. And citizens cannot be expected to secure these devices themselves. That task lies with producers and the government, the Rathenau Instituut writes. These should work together to ensure that no unsafe devices are sold.

‘Knowledge centre for SMEs’
It should be easier for Dutch small and medium-sized enterprises to obtain information and advice on safety precautions, the researchers conclude. In their view, this information is currently too fragmented and difficult to access for small entrepreneurs. Their report calls for the establishment of a knowledge centre which should take on an advisory and supporting role.

About the report
The Rathenau Instituut report (published in Dutch) was commissioned by the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (NCTB) and the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD). Click here to download the full report (pdf).

Photo © CAHairyBear/, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.