Last year's Security Survey (NL) by Statistics Netherlands revealed that 11 per cent of Dutch people fell victim to at least one cybercrime in the previous twelve months. Hacking was the most common problem, with 4.9 per cent of the public affected in 2017. In the Dutch-language report Hoe ervaren internetgebruikers hun digitale veiligheid? (NL) ('How do internet users feel about their internet security?'), Statistics Netherlands says that more than half of people don't always feel safe on line.
With the Hackman campaign, we're aiming to increase awareness of digital security. A series of videos are being posted on line showing how Rickey Gevers goes about trying to hack into Lieke van Lexmond's virtual world. The idea is to get viewers thinking about the potential risks of their everyday internet behaviour. On the Hackman website (NL), you can also test the security of your own on-line activities. Do you often use public wi-fi connections or let your internet browser save your passwords, for example? Via the site, Rickey gives advice tailored to your answers.
Staying secure on line
"From my day job as a cyber security expert, it's clear to me that the Dutch public isn't as aware of digital identity and security as they really should be," says Rickey. "Many Dutch people give little or no thought to on-line security. That's why I took on the role of Hackman. I want to get across the message that all it usually takes is a few simple changes to make yourself much safer on line."
Thirty-two-year-old Rickey Gevers is an ethical hacker. In his younger days, he hacked numerous generally secure university and embassy networks as a technical challenge. However, his activities brought him to the attention of the FBI, leading to his arrest. Rickey still searches out security weaknesses, but now in the role of cyber security expert at RedSocks. He hacks into corporate systems in order to discover security flaws as a basis for corrective action.