By Graham Mulhern
The Threat, Who says it’s real?
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe really annoyed his then boss at the Home office, Theresa May, when he mused in public that the Police would prioritise investigations where the individuals took cyber security seriously. He openly backed banks, credit card providers doing the same and not refunding customers losses. The Metropolitan Police, warns people to take cyber crime much more seriously, to buy online protection, to update, upgrade operating systems regularly.
The UK, which accounts for nearly 4% of worldwide cyber crime by value, and where cyber crime is already 55% of all reported crime according to the National Statistics Office. The NSO predicts this rising to 75% by 2022. The leading threats are fake Technical support, (usually pretending to be Windows support), followed by Ransomware and Credit card fraud. Losses are (although many think it higher) £44, £111, £166 on average respectively. Currently, ‘We know what you’ve been watching email’ blackmails recipients for upto $3,000 in bitcoin. Interpol have warned people to ignore this email, yet it’s working well for international crime gangs.
Cyber crime worries Americans than their kids being beaten up.
Gallup polls Americans about what worries them most of all annually. The 2018 (like previous years) found cyber crime, identity theft, credit card breaches worried Americans more than anything else. Unbelievably, Cyber crime worried people twice as much as one of their kids, being beaten up in school.
US Gallup Poll 2018
Cyber Crime breach 71%
Identity Theft 67%
Home Burgled 40%
Kid beaten up at School 32%
Yet despite the grave warnings of the Police and the public’s expressed concerns, the facts tell us 75% of us couldn’t care less about personal online protection which they use unto 8 hours a day and which pose the greatest danger to them.
Passwords are 1970s protection for 2019 crime
Nothing demonstrates the public complete disinterest in internet safety more than our attitude to passwords. Some of us, still use passwords, from the 1990’s. Upto 20% of all passwords can be guessed within 30 seconds. It is said between 3.5% to 5% of all passwords is ‘123456’, followed by ‘password’ ‘12345’, ‘qwerty’, etc. This list has barely changed in the last 20 years.
Many organisations are disinclined to insist on greater password protection such 2FV, (two factor verification) for fear of losing users, customers, followers. Passwords are 1970s protection for 2019 crime.
Apple, Don’t listen to the hype
Just because Apple is the richest and occasionally the largest company on the planet doesn’t make it omnipotent. MacBook crime rose 80% in 2017. 1.2 billion people use iPhones. 15 years ago when Apple was a dot on the landscape, this myth might have been true, criminals just weren’t that bothered about their tiny eco system. Now, they’re king of the jungle and criminals are very interested in Apple’s well heeled users.
Nigerian General 2.0 – ‘We know what you’ve been watching’
One email circulating currently claims to have been watching & recording people late at night seeks $700 to $2000 to be paid in Bitcoin. If they had this access, you would already be locked out and they would have demanded money with menaces. Here at BeSecureOnline, we know that people pay these Bitcoin ransoms, only to discover antidotes don’t work. Every minute of the day, people lives, memories, photographs and finances are destroyed by these criminal gangs on the other side of the world. 20 years of photographs are not something you want to loose.
Following breaches at LinkedIn, Playstation, Yahoo, Ebay to name just a few there are literally billions of email addresses for criminals work on. Many of these blackmailing emails now feature your password in the email subject line. This can be very stressful for people.
If you want to see if any of your email accounts have ever been breached click this link. 2 of my email addresses were here. Yahoo, is currently agreeing a compensation fund for it’s breached users, their offer, not agreed by a Judge stands at $117 million. Although it is going to be hard share that amongst the 3.2 billion accounts breached. It’s suggested this settlement, funded by Verizon, the new owner, could be Yahoo!s last stand.
What can you do today! 2FV, VPN and beyond.
Check your back ups, if none, install some. Upgrade your passwords, start using 2 factor verification also known as 2FV. Don’t just install online protection like anti virus, buy some VPN as well. If you buy the top of line options like Bitdefender Total Security or Kaspersky TS online protection you will most likely get parental control, password manager and other goodies included.
We love VPN, Your Phone shouldn’t leave home without one. Cheap, effective and incredibly useful. Virtual Private Network as they are known, do 3 great things. VPN protects and encrypts all your internet traffic by hiding your IP address. Secondly it protects your privacy on free Public Wi Fi routers like Hotels, Airports, Cafes meaning you won’t leak your most important details like your Name, Date of Birth, email address, home address. Lastly, it’s not the most important feature, but easily the best, VPN lets you watch country restricted content worldwide, my favourite BBC iPlayer & US Netflix (works occasionally). So good, so safe, it ought to be the law.
Don’t use a free VPN, a surprisingly large number of them are owned by Chinese companies, many of whom are selling your data.
BeSecureOnline specialises in internet protection products, parental control, VPN products. We have an installation service for our most popular products We do talks for Business, School and Government on social media, the internet and internet safety.
Chinese VPN – https://www.besecureonline.co.uk/Blog/entryid/54/does-china-own-your-vpn-too
F-Secure VPN – https://www.besecureonline.co.uk/Buy-Now/Product-Detail/Freedom-VPN-3-Devices
The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/15/rate-in-england-and-wales-soars-as-cybercrime-included-for-first-time
Graham is the founder & CEO of BeSecureOnline. He’s owned and operated several IT business over the last 35 years in ERP, Finance and Big Data. A regular media interviewee in the UK and Ireland about IT, Social Media, Big Tech, GDPR.