Everyone has heard the word cybercrime but as with most things of this nature, you never think it will happen to you. But if you're not actively doing something about it, how can you feel confident that you are protected?
The truth is that you can’t. And just like keeping your valuables safe is as natural as breathing, online valuables should be the same.
After all, you wouldn’t walk around the streets waving your ID in the air, nor would you shout out your pin number as you got cash out of an atm. At least we hope you wouldn’t!
There are some alarming figures surrounding cybercrime, one being that 47% of adults have fallen victim to this crime. More surprisingly, only 38% of all crimes are of a physical nature.
Of course, that is 38% more than anyone would wish, but it highlights that you’re more likely to experience crime whilst being online than offline.
Here are some more figures that might surprise you.
- 36 billion records were exposed in data breaches in the first ¾ of 2020.
- In 2019 cybercrime victims globally lost $2.7 billion in total.
- 45% of data breaches involved hacking, while 22% involved phishing.
The risk is real.
What is cybercrime? What is at risk?
Put simply, cybercrime is the theft of your online data.
This can include:
- Stealing personal information.
- Stealing login credentials.
- Stealing credit card or bank details.
How can criminals get these details?
- Phishing emails or scams.
- Hacking companies, that may hold your details (commonly known as a data breach).
- Through insecure websites.
The fallout from this could be:
- Identity theft.
- Financial theft.
How can you protect yourself?
Cybersecurity is a huge deal, so much so that there are companies that supply other companies with this service. However, from an individual perspective, you don’t need to go that big. Here are some small things you can do that will make a significant difference.
- Create strong & unique passwords, & never them more than once.
- Wherever it’s offered, enable two-factor authentication.
- Keep your operating system, browsers, software & applications up to date.
- Be mindful of phishing attempts asking for sensitive/financial information that legitimate companies wouldn’t ask for & emails with unknown senders. Avoid downloading attachments or clicking links unless you know they are safe.
- Use reliable antivirus software that can detect malicious programs.
- Make sure your Wi-FI network has a strong & unique password & avoid using public WI-Fi for online banking or shopping.
- Don’t share any of your sensitive details on social media.
Of course, most of these precautions don’t protect your data when you’ve left it in the hands of other people. And we do this all the time, when we shop, when we subscribe or when we sign-up. So what’s to be done about that?
Ensuring others protect you too.
When leaving your credentials with online companies, the security of your data is in their hands. But how can you trust that they are doing all they can to protect your sensitive details?
Of course, you can ensure you use unique and strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication if available, but you can also take other steps.
- Don’t give out more information than is needed for the specific purpose.
- Look for the padlock icon in the URL. This ensures SSL/TLS encryption.
- Check your account regularly for unauthorised access or suspicious transactions.
- Be selective with who you trust & choose companies who are transparent & proactive with their security measures.
- On their website, look out for certifications of cyber security from reputable bodies.
Companies taking responsibility
Now, more than ever, as people do more of their business online, it’s important that you know that whoever you deal with is taking their cyber security seriously.
Here at Pocket Receptionist, we’re constantly working on keeping our security up to date to assure our customers that their data is as safe as it can be.
Cyber Essentials is a Government backed scheme that helps businesses protect themselves and their customers from cyber-attacks. And we’re not stopping there! The next certification we are working towards is Cyber Essentials Plus, to give our customers even more peace of mind.
No one can be 100% safe from cybercrime, but as long as you and the companies are doing their utmost to protect your sensitive data, you can probably rest easy at night.
The takeaway from all this information is to educate yourself. Be aware of the most recent scams or threats. Be suspicious of money requests and prize offers - if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
Our final thought is that if we as a society and individuals changed our behaviour to that of vigilance whilst online and practised it until it became the natural or normal thing to do, then cyberspace could become a far more secure place.
If you somehow found yourself here and you’re not a customer, then welcome! We’d love you to check out our main website to see if we can help you or your business in any way.
- FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/property-crime/theft-topic-page/propertycrimemainpdf
- UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS): https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingseptember2019
- Gallup: https://news.gallup.com/poll/316460/americans-experience-crime-rate-unchanged-2019.aspx
- RiskBased Security: https://www.riskbasedsecurity.com/2020/10/01/2020-q3-data-breach-quickview-report-over-36-billion-records-exposed/
- Norton: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-emerging-threats-2019-cost-of-cybercrime.html
- Verizon: https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/reports/db