In this day and age, crime seems to be almost rife in all arenas of our day. The need for security in our homes, cars and even bedrooms is becoming more and more apparent. We feel like we need to protect ourselves in all aspects of our daily lives and more often, we are being scared into doing so with adverts for insurance, security related tech and heavy-duty windows and locks.
Who is doing this?
Hackers are becoming more prevalent in society and the more phishing emails that we receive, the less inclined we are to report them to Amazon, Paypal, iTunes or Ebay. They steal data from us, pretend to be us and inevitably use our entire identities to commit crimes. These individuals are rarely caught because they hide behind proxies and widely-available re-routing apps that keep your location completely anonymous.
So how can we prevent this?
It’s all well and good spending vast quantities of money on technology to protect us in the first instance – firewalls, antivirus and complicated passwords are a good start. However, it boils down to two main aspects of your IT activity; Common sense and knowledge. If for example you are using a computer at work or at a friends house (or coffee shop or whatever) you never save your passwords, never click the ‘keep me logged in’ button and always ensure that you log out. You shouldn’t be prepared to presume that the owner of the machine you are using knows any more or less that you about web security and you should treat then as such. There is a pretty good fail-safe list of things you shouldn’t do to ensure you remain safe online. This includes social media usage too;
…follow a link from an official-looking email that does not contain your actual name and/or part of your account number or card number. It is a phishing email and even though the followed link looks pukka, it isn’t. If you are unsure, visit the site directly and enter your credentials there.
…download a file that you have been sent via email or that you see on a non-reputable website. It is more than likely to be ransom ware or a virus. This being said, your anti-virus software should always be active, updated and fully operational. …ignore the ‘this operating system needs to be updated’. You’ve all head of the story about the NHS IT systems that had been left vulnerable to the global cyber attack that crippled it’s entire infrastructure. Keep your OS up to date and never say ‘it won’t happen to me’ because it may well happen to you!
…save or use your personal contact and credit/debit card details into a website that does not have a solid reputation. I personally do not shop anywhere online that does not offer Paypal as a payment option. Yes, it limits me somewhat to where I can shop, but I am safe in the knowledge that my details are saved in one location and one location only – Paypal also has a terrific reputation for customer safety.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you are an active user of social media and you regularly post your location, what you are eating, with who, when and where, you never actually know who is viewing this content. Never has a cyber criminal had such a good opportunity presented to them than knowing that a potential target is away from home and away from their computer. This blog is not exhaustive by any means. It is also not meant to be scaremongering. It is simply written as ‘forewarned is forearmed’. Pykett out.