Cybercrime comes in many forms, but usually with the intention to cause damage or steal personal information. According to the latest National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s Cyber Crime Assessment, Covid-19 has been a key factor in the rise of cyber attacks, with the most common type of cybercrime being social media and email hacking; reported over 13,000 times and resulting in losses of £2.6m^.
As the name suggests, cybercrime is a criminal activity that involves a computer or network. Fraudsters who commit cybercrime may target an online user through their personal devices, attempting to make a financial gain. Cybercriminals are actively developing their techniques and becoming more and more sophisticated, so it’s important to stay vigilant online. We’ve covered some top tips to stay safe below…
Sometimes people fall victim to cybercrime because they do not realise they’re a target; for example, clicking on a malicious link, replying to a suspicious email, or downloading files from untrusted sources. If you receive an email or text from an unknown sender who is making big promises, it’s most likely a scam, so treat it with caution.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of pretending to be someone else, in order to steal sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords or bank details. Cybercriminals will often pretend to be from businesses you’ve heard of, for example your bank, building society, or a subscription service provider.
If you receive an email or text that requests personal details, encourages you to download something or visit a website; you should be cautious, especially if you weren’t expecting it. Always reach out to the company who is purported to have sent it to you if you’re unsure, but make sure you go via their official channels. If you’d like to find out more about Phishing, our article ‘Phishing: How to stay vigilant’ could help.
Secure your personal devices
Malware is a type of malicious software designed to cause damage to a computer or network. It comes in many different forms; some programmes are designed to spy on you and steal personal information, while others may allow cybercriminals to access your devices, control them remotely and even add or delete files.
It’s important to update personal devices such as phones, tablets or laptops with the latest software and security updates from your provider. Anti-virus software can be installed to actively seek, identify and delete malicious files such as dangerous malware.
For an extra level of protection; when you browse the web, make sure you’re only visiting secure, encrypted websites; especially if you’re typing in sensitive data like passwords or bank details. A secure website can be identified at the top of your web browser; look out for the ‘HTTPs’ text within the site’s URL, or the padlock which can usually be found to the left of this link.
Keep your accounts safe
You should update your passwords on a regular basis, especially for accounts which store financial details. Your password should be strong, secure and only used once. As tempting as it can be, it isn’t good practice to use the same password across multiple accounts. Never share your password with anyone and avoid writing it down.
Some companies may advise you to set up two-factor authentication, which means you’ll only be able to access your account after verifying your login attempt; usually through a confirmation email or text. This adds an additional measure of security, and even if a cybercriminal steals your password, they may struggle to access your account.
Here at the Marsden, keeping your accounts and personal information safe is our priority. If you have a reason to believe that your account is at risk or have received communication from us that you’re not sure is legitimate, please contact us immediately on 01282 440500*.
For more information about staying safe online, you may find the ‘Get Safe Online’ website useful.
^NFIB Cyber Crime Assessment 2020/21