Guest Blog: meet our Cyber Crime Prevention Officer, Lee Stripe
Cyber crime.... people hear these words they often think it's a more global problem and that it won't happen to them or that it only exists in a world of hacking big businesses or celebrities.
We see people saying why would anyone want to hack me? The fact is that cybercrime is out there, and could affect any of us, unless we take some basic cyber security steps to stop cyber criminals.
There are some big targets out there who might be subject to crimes like ransomware, hacking or denial of service attacks (DDOS), but cybercrime also includes those scam e-mails you get; the ones that pretend to be the bank, or say you have got a refund, or try to get you to click on a link then put in account details.
We can be really good at spotting those scam emails and messages we get, but they are getting more and more convincing. It is important to be aware of those scams, and think before you act on content of an e-mail, text or phone call.
Considering the security of our devices and accounts is also really important. Protecting our accounts with a strong and unique password is a must, especially our most important accounts such as email and online banking. Criminals go after accounts that they can get into quickly and easily.
If you have a strong password it's much harder for them to break in and they will likely give up and move on to try someone else's accounts. We should also be going a step further and enabling 2 factor authentication (2FA) wherever it is available.
My role here in Wiltshire police is to provide advice and guidance to mitigate the risk of cybercrime, for every person and business within the county. Part of my role involves talking to victims of cyber crime and providing appropriate advice. We contact every person who reports a cyber crime though action fraud, talking about what has happened and then providing advice on staying safe online in the future.
I also provide cyber security advice to individuals, groups and businesses to stop them becoming a victim of cybercrime. We want to raise awareness of the threat that cyber crime can pose so that people can better protect themselves and be more aware of the dangers in the first place.
Cyber security doesn't have to be hard or technical. Just taking your time and thinking before you click on a link can keep you safe. Never be rushed into things because something is 'urgent'.
Think of cyber security the same as physically securing your house. You lock the doors and windows, replace security features if they are broken or out of date, and change the locks if you lose the keys. With your computers and devices, lock them if you're away from them, update or replace software when updates are available, and change passwords if they are compromised. It's these simple steps that can have a huge impact on your security.
We use Twitter and Facebook to put out awareness of latest threats and scams we are seeing and also provide advice on protecting yourselves. You can follow us by searching for Wiltshire Police Cyber. Remember technology and the internet are wonderful things, but it doesn't hurt to be aware and invest some time in making sure it stays wonderful for you.