Government urges Britons to #ThinkRandom to protect themselves from identity fraud

Using three random words to create a strong password, is the latest advice from National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ. Numbers and symbols can still be used if needed, however, using three random words is the key to creating a strong password.

As well as using three random words, Cyber Aware recommends always downloading the latest software and app updates as soon as they are available. They contain vital security updates which help protect your devices from viruses and hackers.

The latest government statistics from Ipsos MORI, show that only 35% of Britons are following Government’s latest advice although it is the most important action people can take to protect themselves from cybercrime. 

With 27% of people saying they have shared their passwords with others, Cyber Aware is also reminding people to keep their passwords secret and to change their password if you think it’s been compromised.



How well protected are you?

During December last year in the run up to Christmas it is estimated that the UK spent some £5 billion in online transactions with more money than ever being spent on home technology such as smart phones, tablets and computers.

But as more technology is used, so the incidents of cyber crimes increase. The Horsham District Community Safety Partnership is keen to reverse this trend and is seeking to both raise awareness of the issue as well as provide guidance on how residents can better protect themselves from becoming another victim.

Cybercrimes are defined by the Police as: "Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS)"

Greg Charman, Community Safety Manager said: "The Horsham District remains the safest place in West Sussex, however the face of crime is changing. The internet provides criminals with the ability to operate from anywhere in the world and cyber crime is no longer for the hacking elite, it has become dominated by organised, professional gangs who do not recognise geographical boundaries making detection more difficult".

Cyber attacks often begin with a computer being infected by a virus, which is usually spread by email. Once a victim clicks on a link or opens a document within these emails so infection has begun. One in ten infections also now comes via social networking websites, disguised as videos which fail to play, followed by a message asking you to upgrade your video player. Once a cyber criminal has taken over your computer they will harvest passwords, bank details and try to remain undetected and in control for as long as possible.

Help is at hand however and the Community Safety Partnership is encouraging people to adopt the following top tips to reduce the risk of being a victim:

1. Use different usernames on the various websites you use to live your online life.

2. Don't re-use your email password as it is the key to all your online accounts.

3. Don't add strangers as friends on social networking sites.

4. Don't be fooled by 'cries for help' from friends claiming to be stuck abroad and in need of financial assistance.

5. Be wary and avoid strange looking or unusual links on social networking sites.

6. Take care when using public Wi-Fi as it can be hard to tell whether a network is real of being run by hackers. Very often a laptop will warn you of security breaches but a smart phone may not.

7. Don't trust people you don't know and never share personal details in an online chat room.

8. Use up-to-date antivirus software as it helps deal with known problems and will respond to new attacks.

9. Use extra passwords and preferably pass phrases with numbers and symbols – many websites now offer the option of a two-factor password, similar to those used for online banking.

10. Set every piece of software to update automatically. Attackers actively seek vulnerabilities in your operating system, browser and other software.

If you fear you have been the victim of cyber should report it immediately to Action Fraud:

By phoning: 0300 123 2040, or by visiting: