The fact that there are so many different crimes to be worried about these days means that it is difficult to focus on all of them. If you were to focus your time and energy on avoiding being a victim of fraud or theft, you may find that you leave yourself open to cybercrime.
There is a lot to be said for making yourself as safe as possible across the board, but this isn’t always easy to do. This is why you need to make yourself aware of the danger and difficulties associated with major crimes, including cybercrime.
A report issued in January of 2016 by the West Midlands police force indicates that cybercrime is a very major issue in the local area. Victims in the West Midlands have lost out on over £2m in just 12 weeks due to cybercrimes. The worrying aspect of this finding comes with the fact that the figure is likely to be considerably higher due to a number of cybercrimes not being reported. A breakdown of the figures suggests that £1,106,502 was stolen with respect to cyber dependent crimes and £967,729 was stolen via crimes that were cyber enabled.
In the three month-period under review, a total of 92 cybercrimes were reported and the crimes that were the most costly were crimes relating to bank card hacking, online bank account crimes and crimes relating to cheque. While the financial aspect of cybercrime is the element that most people focus on, crime can have a huge impact on people, affecting their health and shaking their confidence. Of the crimes that were reported, 13% of victims had to receive medical treatment or found themselves at the brink of bankruptcy because of these crimes. The serious nature of these crimes and the way that they can turn people’s lives upside down in a short period of time makes them a major concern.
How you can reduce the risk of cybercrime
It is important that people are aware of this style of crime and that they take action to protect themselves as best as they can from cybercrime. Here are 10 top tips to reduce the risk of being a victim of cybercrime:
- Use unique passwords and use different passwords on different sites
- Be sure to have an active firewall
- If you are in any doubt, do not download
- Make sure that you have the latest operating systems installed
- Make sure that all sensitive and personal data is encrypted
- Make sure that your Wi-Fi network is secured
- Be sure to check all of your social media privacy settings
- Be sure to use anti-malware and anti-virus software
- Review spending and bank statements on a monthly basis to ensure you haven’t been a victim of cybercrime
- Inform the local authorities as quickly as possible if you suspect you are a victim of cybercrime
Given that we spend most of our life online these days; it can be easy to think things for granted. Add in the fact that many people are not savvy when it comes to using computers and you have a situation where many people could be cybercrime victims and not even be aware of it. No matter the type of crime, many criminals are just looking for an opportunity and in the case of cybercrime; a lack of knowledge presents an opportunity for crime to happen. This is why it is very important that people makes themselves aware of cybercrime and the impact that this can have on their lives. No one should be scared or frightened of going online but it is crucial that people understand that there are various dangers to be found online, and that it makes sense to stay as safe as possible.
Do what you can to minimise risk of cybercrime
It is not as if it is possible to 100% protects yourself from cybercrime but by being aware and active, you can reduce the risk of cybercrime. If most people acted in this manner, the reward and incentive for cybercriminals would be greatly diminished, and this would further reduce the likelihood of cybercrime occurring.
For the moment though, cybercrime remains a very real threat and this is why many defence solicitors are studying cybercrime and making themselves more aware of the nature of this crime. It is important that everyone aims to improve their online safety and make the most of the internet while staying safe.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.