Unfortunately, it has become critically important that we are vigilant when it comes to online security. Cyber crime has become so common that it is not just the global businesses that get targeted but smaller businesses and even personal online devices are now targeted. And there are so many different variations of cyber crime now that it is increasingly difficult for authorities to counter. For example, cyber crime involves hacking, viruses/malware, denial of service attacks as well as other types of online criminal methods.
Did you know that an estimated 3.6 million cases cyber fraud and 2 million computer misuse offences were recorded over a 12 month period in 2016? Online fraud has become a huge problem and even though the government dedicates large sums of money to fight cyber crime, the fight is far from over. Fraudsters devise increasingly convincing strategies such as fake emails, or even text messages asking you to provide security details.
Anybody that connects to the Internet can become a victim of cyber crime but there are some steps that you can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Such as:
Update your devices with the latest operating system
If you are a laptop or smartphone user, you will probably be aware that your operating system rolls out an update on a regular basis. These updates generally incorporate updated security features that will help you to protect your devices when online. So when you have an update that is due, you should always update your operating system as soon as you can. When hackers find a weakness in security, the operating system will work on a solution and roll out an update. So staying up to date is crucial in preventing cyber attacks.
Use complex passwords
Cyber criminals can use robots that will try and guess passwords so the easier your password, the easier it will be for criminals to crack. So always go for a complex password and try to use different passwords, rather than always using the same one. If you find it hard to remember your different passwords, then you can use a password manager tool. New alternatives to passwords like authentication by fingerprint or facial recognition are being introduced to try and help boost online security.
Don’t share your details online
Lots of social media accounts display details such as your date of birth that could be used to try and hack your accounts. When you are using social media, do not share personal information and be wary if companies ask you for any personal information, especially if they have contacted you. Banks offer advice on how you can ensure that you protect your online details, so it is always worth educating yourself with the guidance your bank provides. Also, the National Cyber Security Centre is a good place to get more information.
Use secure websites
When you are using websites, you should always check whether they are secure. This is particularly important if you are providing card details but you should be wary of any website that you type personal information into. Websites that start with https:// are secure websites (the s stands for secure) and the little padlock symbol in the URL address bar also indicates a secure website. If you have your own website then speak to your web host about security features to protect your website users.
Public WiFi networks are high risk
When you are limited on data for your mobile or need a WiFi connection away from home, many people use public WiFi networks. Because this is a public network, the security can be compromised compared to your own private WiFi network so it is advisable not to log onto bank accounts or enter any personal information/ passwords or do any kind of online purchases whilst on a public WiFi network.
It is always better to be overly suspicious than to take things at face value. If an offer seems too good to be true then it could well be a scam. If someone asks you to provide information online, then stop and think. If someone contacts you claiming to be your bank, tell them you will call their main customer service number to check they are legit. You can call your bank using the contact numbers on their website to check they are who they say they are.
By Lucy Davis, Top 10 Webhosting.com