Whether you’ve got the latest phone, tablet, and laptop or are a technological dinosaur, everyone can be vulnerable to cybercrime. Criminal gangs target the UK to extort and steal money and personal data, so you need to know how to stay safe online.
The National Cyber Security Centre recorded over 8,000 cases of social media hacking in 2022, up over 25 percent from the previous year.
Ofcom found that 45 million people received an attempt at an SMS scam in the UK in 2021. Whatever you do online, there are people trying to scam you, unfortunately.
While concerning, there are clear steps you can take to keep you and your family safe online, and we’re going to show you how.
1. Know Your Scams
Online scammers are always changing their ways to fool you or attack you. They know you’re smart enough to catch onto their tactics, so try and stay one step ahead.
In this game of virtual cat and mouse, you need to keep yourself educated. Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help you stay aware.
You can like and follow organisations in the UK who are there to keep you informed about scams. Pages like Ofcom, your local police, and the local news will let you know when new types of attacks emerge.
It can also be useful to join your local community groups online – people often share their recent experiences of scam attempts.
2. Know the Value of Your Data
Staying vigilant of attack schemes is useful, but you also need to keep yourself safe from the ever-changing threats. There are hallmarks of scams that you should be aware of – this means understanding what scammers want from you.
Your data is valuable. This could be your personal data like your address and date of birth so they can take loans and credit cards in your name or your banking details so they can try and steal your money.
Knowing that every detail about your life has value should make you more cautious about who you share information with.
Have you clicked on a link and been asked for your HMRC login details? Or have you received a phone call asking for your banking security? When you appreciate how valuable this information is, you can think through your decision to share it and keep your data safe.
3. Protect Your Devices
Incoming scams can be easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. However, there are more stealthy online attacks that can affect you and your phone or computer.
39 percent of UK businesses faced cyberattacks, with one in five reporting ransomware attempts in 2022. Gangs try and break into your phone or computer, track everything that you do, and use that information to steal your or your employer’s data.
Learn how to get a UK VPN so you can mask your online connection point and encrypt the data you send from your devices. This can massively reduce the chances that someone can hack your phone and steal your personal data online.
4. Update Your Devices
Hackers are constantly looking for ways to break into your devices. As well as targeting you individually, they also work to break into the systems on iPhones and Android phones, for example, so they can attack lots of people at once.
Just like with the scams in your inbox, hackers play a cat-and-mouse game with the phone and computer companies. The criminals find a way to break into Windows, the company sends out a security update to fix it, and the criminals start finding another way to break in.
This is why, whenever you get a notification on your devices that there is an update available, you should do it as soon as possible. The longer you put off installing updates, the more chance that your outdated system can come under attack online.
Stay Protected from Cybercrime
It’s a sad fact that people in the UK fall victim to cybercrime. The criminals who do this rely on you not knowing what their standard attacks look like and not knowing how valuable your data is. Being aware of potential attacks is a smart move.
You also need to keep your electronics safe. Any time you connect to the internet, you should use a VPN to encrypt your data so no one can track it, and make sure your devices are up-to-date so wider vulnerabilities can’t be exploited. Taking all these steps will protect you, your data, and your money.