OCTOBER is Cyber Security Awareness Month and while most recently the press have been running numerous reports about how some celebrities have had private pictures of themselves hacked into, what’s a lot more important than their nudity is ensuring that your money is safe online.
Cyber crime is big business and it doesn’t just affect the rich and famous, every single one of us, regardless of the amount of money we have in the bank, is a target.
Cybercrime comes in many forms – online identity theft, financial fraud, hacking, email spoofing, information forgery, and intellectual property crime.
It can cause a lot of stress for a victim, while at its worst, cybercrime can even lead to financial ruin. In the UK it’s said that someone is ripped off by a fraudster or loses money to an online crime, every two minutes of every day. Therefore learning how to prevent such crime is essential.
Keep a clean machine. Whether it is a PC, mobile device or laptop, make sure security software is current and up-to-date. How many times have you delayed security updates when they pop up on the screen? Exactly. But remember that having the latest software on all devices can be one of the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
Change passwords regularly. When changing your password, make it complicated, with a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for many accounts. By keeping various passwords you lessen the risk of multiple accounts being compromised.
Connect with care. Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots and if you decide to purchase something online only send personal information only to websites that are fully encrypted.
Be aware of suspicious texts, emails and links. Unsolicited emails and pop-up ads can be full of computer viruses designed specifically to steal usernames and passwords from your computer. Just for the sake of curiosity they are not worth opening. Close and delete dubious messages.
Report it. If your identity has been stolen or compromised, contact your bank immediately.