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Five ways to stay safer online

Emma Reay, Communications Officer

Cyber crime costs the UK billions of pounds each year with millions falling victim to phishing.
With the growing threat rising each year concerning breaches in leaked personal data throughout many organisations and individuals, it is imperative that we all become more alert.

Shocking cybercrime facts you need to know:

- 1 in 5 companies in 2021 suffered a malicious data breach due to stolen credentials
- Business email compromise attacks recently increased to 72% and over half of these were sent from a Gmail email address
- 81% of organisations experienced an increase in email phishing since March 2020
- There were 43,330 victims of identity theft in 2020
- 45,330 people had their personal data stolen in 2020
- 70% of brand impersonation phishing attempts in 2020 were claiming to be Microsoft
(The above statistics are from Expert Insights)

Things to look out for to avoid becoming a victim to cybercrime:

1. Set strong passwords on all your devices

Ensure that your password is over 8 characters long with a mix of special characters, numbers, lower- and upper-case letters.
The stronger and longer your password is, the safer it will be against hackers and malicious software.
Remember to always choose a different password for each website, so if a hacker gets into one account, they cannot get into all of them.
Try using a password manager to securely manage and store all of your login credentials.

2. Get the latest anti-virus and firewall software

Antivirus software detects, prevents, and takes action against any viruses and malicious software on your device.
Once malware is on your computer, it can steal your data and even erase your data or lock you out of your device, so it’s important to always have the latest anti-virus software and keep it up to date.

3. Learn to spot fake emails and websites

Cyber criminals con people into giving out their personal data through convincing fake websites and emails, this is called phishing.
You can spot these a number of ways including checking the domain, e.g If the email says it is from Microsoft but it comes from a Gmail account, it is not legitimate.
It is also common to have mis-spelt titles or email addresses as well as being poorly written with a sense of urgency.

4. Keep your personal information private

If you have your birthday, pets name and mothers maiden name on your public Facebook profile you could be at risk of hackers finding out your password through easy to guess security questions.
Remember to only accept friend requests from those you know and remember to update your security questions with answers nobody can find online.
Many people share their lives on social media nowadays, but the more you share, the more likely you are to be hacked.

5. Make sure your internet connection is secure

If you frequently use public Wi-Fi hotspots you have no control over the security of your internet connection and are more likely to get hacked.
To improve security try using a VPN connection which will enable you to have a secure connection where nobody can monitor or access your data.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts all of your data from when it leaves your device.
It’s a safer way to use the internet, allowing you to get an extra layer between you and the hackers, as well as anonymous browsing and location.

Now you know how to browse, learn, shop and chat safely online, all you need is the correct broadband speed! Our newly launched ISP provides hypersonic broadband speeds from 150mbps (£29 per month) to 900mbps (£51 per month). Find out if Be Fibre is available in your area here.