Cyber crime is on the rise, and the situation seems dire. Recent statistics indicate that small to medium enterprises do not have the money or expertise to combat this rising issue, and cyber criminals are getting more and more sophisticated as time goes by.
It is starting to look like the fight against cyber crime is a losing one, however, that simply isn’t true! Criminals will always be part of life, yet there are ways to make it harder for them to break through. Hackers might be one step ahead now, but in a few years they might not get that far. Fighting cyber crime is tough, but it’s not an impossible task. Once you know your enemy’s strategy, it is easier to defend yourself.
What are these criminals after?
Cyber criminals are mostly after your money. There are three main scams that are used to achieve this:
- Advance-fee fraud. This includes online classified scams, online shopping scams and dating scams.
- The use of fake and fraudulent material to coerce you into parting with your money.
- Banking related fraud. This includes phishing schemes, copycat sites and false SMS notifications, which result in consumers divulging confidential information.
Tips for the individual
Anyone can become a victim of cyber crime, and it is difficult to be on your guard at all times, especially after a long day at work. Here is what you need to do:
- Regulate what your children are downloading. There are parental controls available for your smart phones which work similarly to TV parental controls.
- Make sure your phone is using application verification so that you can only download apps from trusted sources.
- When surfing the web or buying items online, avoid free shipping offers and make sure you only pay after you’ve inspected the purchased products.
- Always avoid paying online using a money or order transfer. You should only be using secure payment facilities when purchasing anything online.
- Do not make any financial transactions from computers that anyone else has access to – this includes work computers and public computers.
- Do not respond to any random or unexpected emails, especially if it attempts to bait you into clicking on an unfamiliar link.
- Travel with certified copies of your ID.
- When it comes to passwords, it is best to use a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers and symbols. Also be sure to change your password regularly if at all possible.
Tips for your business
Businesses need to educate their employees who are connecting to their corporate networks, by insisting on multi-factor authentication to access corporate systems. There are also a few tips that you should follow to ensure that the business is secure. Employees and employers should:
- Back up their data daily.
- Keep their computer’s operating system up to date.
- Keep three copies of data – two locally on an external storage device and one at a different location.
- Make sure the anti-virus and anti-malware software is up to date.
- Don’t open suspicious emails or attachments.
- Block unnecessary ports.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Keep your device and mailboxes clean by emptying archived, spam and junk folders regularly.
While cyber crime is on the rise and is making it increasingly difficult for successful individuals to safeguard information and their money, all is not lost. Follow these tips and you are sure to protect yourself against these criminals.
To find out more about our insurance solutions to protect you against cyber crime, contact us to find out more.