It continues to remain important for individuals and businesses to stay as safe as possible when it comes to cybercrime in 2017. Figures for online scams and fraud remain high, but there are steps we can take to keep our computers and devices as safe and secure as possible.
According to latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics, there were almost 1.9 million incidents of online fraud and 1.6 million cases of computer misuse in the 12 months to June 2017. The need to remain vigilant when it comes to cyber security is ever present and remains high. There are steps you can take, however, to ensure your computer and personal details are as safe as possible.
Keep your PC or Mac protected
One of the best ways to make sure your computer is as protected as possible is to ensure that you apply any patches, software fixes and software updates when they become available. By updating your computer on a regular basis, you block attackers from being able to take advantage of any software flaws (vulnerabilities) which they could use to break into your system.
Configure your computer security
You can configure your Internet applications such as your web browser and email software to be more secure. For example, settings in your web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox) will determine what happens when you visit websites on the Internet—the strongest security settings will give you greater control but can be frustrating if you are restricted from visiting certain sites or when you get security warnings flash up regularly.
Often security and privacy settings can be set up on your computer easily by using the ‘Help’ feature of your software or visiting the vendor's website.
Install a Firewall
There are lots of security software options available for PCs, Macs and handheld devices. A firewall runs in the background at all times and is your first line of defence against a cyber-attack as is acts as a security guard, controlling who/what can communicate with your computer/device online.
Install Anti-Virus Software
On top of a firewall, make sure you run up-to-date antivirus software on your computer or device to keep it free from malware and other infections. This software works in the background, blocking not only viruses, but all sorts of malware. You can get security suites which include Firewalls, antivirus and anti-spyware features as well as additional options such as anti-spam and parental controls.
Choose Strong Passwords
You need a password for everything these days - from ordering toys online to logging into your internet banking - and you need to ensure these are as strong as possible.
You should select a password that cannot be easily guessed. Strong passwords are recommended to have at least eight characters or more and use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., # $ % ! ?). Avoid using anything based on your personal information such as the name of your dog, or a well-known nickname.
Look out for scams
There are lots of scams out there phishing for your personal information. We have written more articles on how to stay safe online and spot suspected scams:
Protect Yourself Against Phishing, Vishing and SMishing
Shopping Online and Staying Safe