At the end of last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Following the addition of new CSEW questions, this report included cyber-crime and fraud statistics for the first time. The new numbers show that there were:
- 3.8 million incidents of fraud, half of which were cyber-related; and
- 2 million incidents of computer misuse - 68% of those being virus related, with the remaining 32% involving unauthorised access to a computer, including hacking.
This suggests that cybercrime accounted for 40% of all crime recorded in the first six-months of the year and implies that one in 10 adults in the UK is being affected by cybercrime.
No wonder Alex Neill, of consumer group Which?, was quoted as saying the "shocking scale of people hit by cyber crime and fraud" has been revealed for the first time.
What is clear from the scale of the fraud and cyber offences detailed in the CSEW report is that the internet is "changing the nature of crime" in the UK, and with cyber-attacks set to continue to increase in volume and sophistication the need for raising awareness of the threats has never been so important.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your business:
- Improve the overall security awareness of your employees. 7Safe’s modular awareness programmes can be tailored from a 30-minute “lunch and learn” session to full day events, helping people to recognise the threats they face both in their personal lives and at work. Those attending will leave armed with a practical set of tips to reduce both the likelihood and impact of a future security breach.
- Don’t accept invitations from people you don’t know on social media sites. It’s a good idea to create separate work and personal profiles.
- Check the settings on your social media profiles to make sure they are set to private and that you are only sharing information with people you know.
- Protect your accounts with different and strong complex passwords that are hard to guess.
- Don’t post your current location.
- Don’t post information that would make you or your family vulnerable, such as your date of birth and address.
- Never respond to unsolicited emails, click on suspicious links or ones that try to convince you to respond by offering prizes or a cash incentive – even if they are from your friends.
- Be cautious using public Wi-Fi - take care when using public Wi-Fi networks and don’t use them to access sensitive apps such as mobile banking.
# # #
Richard Allen is Education Business Development Manager at 7Safe, PA Consulting Group’s technical security practice based at the Cambridge Cyber Development Centre, which annually trains over 500 of the UK’s leading ethical hackers and digital forensics professionals.
Call 7Safe on 01763 285 285 to claim a Free Training Consultation to discuss how we can assist your organisation improve the overall security awareness of your team.