Cybercrime: at the mercy of fraudsters

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SOPHISTICATED CRIMINALS: Exploit weaknesses in server, database or browser software.

YOU are now 20 times more likely to be robbed while at your computer by a criminal based overseas than mugged in the street, new official figures have revealed. The explosion in online fraud and cybercrime involved almost six million offences last year, in other words, one in 10 of us fell victim.

Oh dear, Mrs May only left the Home Office a few weeks ago and already crime seems on the increase. The conspiracy theorists will blame it all on Brexit. Brexit, it appears, is Britain’s great gift to the rest of the world. A failsafe excuse for Italy’s failing banks, Germany’s failing Deutsche Bank and faltering economies everywhere. Blame everything on Brexit! Little matter that the vast majority of these problems existed long before David Cameron came up with the idea of THAT referendum.

But hang on! Actual crime levels haven’t increased, online offences weren’t covered previously! These online crime numbers simply give the very first official snapshot of the scale of the threat we all face from online attacks and scams every day.

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The problem is most people parade around the internet with the same attitude they have when on holiday: far too laid back. And there really needs to be a distinction drawn between crimes by idiots who hand over their personal information on a platter to strangers on the internet, and crimes by sophisticated criminals exploiting deep weaknesses in server, database or browser software. After all, there have been enough high profile cases of phishing, identity theft and especially hacking (e.g. TalkTalk, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone).

But, sorry, I’m too busy to add any more now as I’ve just got an exciting email from Reverend Jo King in Africa offering me the once-in-a-lifetime chance to invest in his oil well for £60k and get 1,000 per cent return… and an ex-US Marine who needs help getting gold bullion out of Iraq.

Isn’t the internet exciting? But wait a moment, all the money’s vanished from my bank account. What was his name again? Reverend JO KING?! Ooh, er…    

Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89; £0.79) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

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