CYBER CRIMINALS ATTACKING USERS ON THE RISE – A recent survey into cyber crime by the University of Kent has uncovered disturbing evidence that cyber crime is on the rise in Britain and some 2.3% of the online users it questioned involved crime that saw the victims lose more than £10,000.
Online criminals are increasingly targeting email, social network, banking and even gaming site accounts in order to scrape personal data of potential victims.
There is currently a growing trend of more elderly people logging online so that they are more able to keep in touch with family and friends; but their activities, due to their lack of knowledge, is increasingly putting them as risk of being scammed by unscrupulous cyber criminals.
Online security experts have often told people that they should never use the same password for each and every online account they have. Moreover people shouldn’t use passwords that might be obvious to crack, such as using 1234 or their names, dates of birth or even the names of their pets.
Yes, these are easy to remember passwords but the issue is that such passwords are easy to guess from the electronic trail people leave behind; for a cyber criminal they often look for simple clues that lead them to a password.
For a password to be reasonably safe it is best if it is made up with a combination of letters (both upper case and lower case), numbers and characters and consist of at least eight characters; actually the more the better, for example:
As you can see the example above is simply random and made up and is unlikely to be thought up by cyber criminals looking at any personal information that they might be able to find.
Another issue is keeping your passwords safe and secure. For those who do take the time to come up with a random password they are often held on a document on their computer with no password to access the document. It really isn’t that difficult for a cyber criminal to hack into a personal computer and download your personal files.
A point to note here is the issue with Google Street View which was found to have obtained data from personal users through their Wi-Fi connections.
People also need to be careful on what websites they visit for there are thousands of websites infected with computer viruses, malware and Trojans; all are capable of doing damage to your computer or assisting cyber criminals access to your personal data.
If you think that something is not quite right with your computer then contact a computer engineer so that they can determine if your computer has been infected with anything that could put your personal data at risk.
If you think that any of your online accounts have been compromised, such as your banking, social networks or emails then contact the sites administrators and change your passwords immediately.
Always ensure that you have some type of computer security software installed, such as AVG, Norton Anti-Virus and never interact with any emails from sources that you don’t know.
If you do receive an email from your bank telling you that your account has been hacked then DO NOT respond to the email but rather telephone or visit your bank manager in person. Often such emails are bogus and allow cyber criminals to obtain your personal banking data and password.
Have you been a victim of cyber crime? Please contact us with your story.