Tackling Cybercrime: How You Can Stay Safe

Cybercrime is on the rise and the global pandemic has increased online use. As a result, shopping and remote work have been the go-to. However, that has also opened up security risks. Being able to protect yourself and your information online is vital. 

Firstly, we should never give out personal information such as our name, address, email or phone number before verifying the identity of the receiver. One prevalent scam sees fraudsters target job seekers by advertising fake job opportunities. In an article published this year, The Balance highlighted this particular pitfall, providing examples that will serve to keep us informed. The article explains that “the scammer uses the job listing to get job seekers to provide personal information including their social security number, credit card information, and/or bank account information.” These details can be used by charlatans to steal your identity. Internet users should always verify the credibility of the company they are in contact with. We should never trust emails from unknown, unusual or unreliable addresses.

Passwords may seem like an inconvenience to our daily internet use. When it comes to staying protected online, it is imperative to create one that is strong, uncommon and complex. Research has shown that many internet users apply the same password across a number of different online services. According to statistics published by Ofcom a year ago, 55% of adults aged 16 and over are guilty of this detrimental practice. This is a particularly damning statistic. Unless we improve, hackers all over the world will continue to capitalise on our complacency. Fortunately, many online services now prompt us to create elaborate passwords, encouraging us to avoid simplistic combinations of letters and numbers. We should always use a variety of upper/lower-case letters and include special characters. You could even create your own personal acronym. Regrettably, ‘12345678’ won’t be very protective.

In order to stay protected, consumers must ensure they have the latest software updates installed at all times. Apple are constantly working to improve security by releasing updates, but it is the responsibility of the consumer to make sure to comply.

Stay safe!