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There were 2.5million victims of cyber crime last year – how not to be a victim

You know the theory, but maybe you should ACTUALLY change that password you’ve been using as default for every site since 2011.

Alarming new figures show there were 2.5 million cyber crimes and 5.1 million frauds reported last year, the first time these offences were calculated in official estimates by the Office for National Statistics.

Data reveals that aside from this crime has fallen by 8 per cent from last year with an estimated 6.5 million offences – but it looks like hackers are having a field day taking advantage of people’s banking and personal details.
What are the most frequent cyber offences?

Here’s how to keep your computer safe.

1. Check for software updates

Then actually install them. Hackers can take advantage of bugs in the system, but as soon as programmers are aware of errors they can fix them. So keep your computer up to date!

2. Choose strong passwords

It’s obvious but one of the easiest and most important ways to keep yourself safe. Experts recommend using at least eight characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g. $&*?) Avoid using actual words or any personal information, and keep your passwords somewhere other people won’t see them. At the very least, make sure your email and online banking are well protected.

3. Constant vigilance

If you use online banking, keep track of each transaction and investigate anything you don’t recognise or don’t remember paying for. Cyber criminals may try to siphon small amounts of money from lots of different accounts to avoid detection, so everything is worth checking out.

4. Use security software

Keep this updated as well. There are lots of free anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes available and you should make sure this is turned on every time you surf the net.

5. Don’t respond

…to anyone claiming to be a foreign prince whose bank account has been blocked, anyone asking you to ‘just confirm’ your account details or anyone warning you if you don’t your Facebook account will be deleted. They don’t have $352,376,492 in a bank account with your name on it. It’s pretty obvious, but there’s a whole world of scams out there and you should be be wary of anyone asking for money or personal information.

The crime statistics were gathered from the 12 months prior to people being interviewed between May and August this year with cyber crimes defined under the Computer Misuse Act.

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