The threat of Cyber-Crime

The threat is real

It’s been 10 years since the financial crisis, a credit crunch that almost crippled the banking industry in the UK. Despite the disastrous outcomes and the years of austerity, we are still standing. Reforms have been put in place to ensure that it never happens again…well at least not as severe. However, when one problem subsides another appears, and this one could be catastrophic.

Cyber-crime is not a recent phenomenon, in fact the first cyber-criminal was recorded before the Internet in the year 1820! Joseph­-Marie Jacquard, a textile manufacturer in France, produced the loom. This device allowed the repetition of a series of steps in the weaving of special fabrics. This resulted in a fear amongst Jacquard’s employees that their traditional employment and livelihood were being threatened. They committed acts of sabotage to discourage Jacquard from further use of the new technology. Much like today where many employees feel the threat of Artificial Intelligence to their employment.

Cyber-crime has evolved over the years and with the introduction of the Internet has become a more serious threat. As a society we are now reliant on services such as online banking and the ability to work from home via our personal devices. This not only poses threats to our personal belongings but also to our employers. Many of us now use our personal devices for work purposes, including the use of emails, these emails may contain sensitive company information that could be exploited if ending up in the wrong hands.

Cyber-threats are constantly evolving and changing, in addition to the threats posed by cyber-crime itself, cyber-enabled crimes such as financial crime, crimes against children and fraud also pose distinct threats to the public.

How can we handle the threat?

With this topic being so detailed and expansive, in this blog I’d like to share just a few general safety tips.

There are a few simple steps to reduce the threat of ‘Spam’. Firstly, always keep your spam filter switched on and be wary of advertising and offers. Secondly, be on the alert if you do not know the sender, a trusted website will never ask you to confirm sensitive information like passwords or account details. Finally, report any suspected spam immediately and do NOT open any suspicious attachments.

The threat of ‘Phishing’ is also one to be vigilant of. A phishing email may appear to come from a trusted source. However, some warning signs are if the e-mail is sent from a free webmail address or requests personal information such as username, password or bank details. Finally, a phishing email may include a link to a website with a web address that is different from the organisation’s official address.

To keep your computer safe from viruses and other technical problems you can use the following:

  • Anti-virus software and a trusted Firewall
  • Anti-spyware tools.
  • If you have a wireless network, make sure it’s encrypted;
  • Block browser pop ups (Adblocker)
  • Create strong passwords – at least eight characters long and including a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers or symbols (Avoid DoB)
  • Keep your passwords secret; never give them to anyone.