Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has stressed the importance of members of the public protecting themselves from online scams and malicious software (malware).
According to new information published by the National Crime Agency (NCA), up to 15,000 computes in the UK could be infected, with many people unaware and taking insufficient precautions to protect their sensitive information such as bank account details and passwords.
The NCA is urging everyone to update their virus software regularly, scan new downloads for potentially harmful files and to regularly change their password in order to ensure better protection. They have published a range of guidelines for improving computer safety on their Get Safe website available to view here Get Safe Online.
Cybercrime is an increasing problem in the UK, costing businesses in the UK an estimated £21billion each year. Computer users are typically infected by clicking on attachments or links in emails which may look like they have been sent by genuine contacts and claim to contain pictures, voicemail messages, or any file made to look innocuous.
According to the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, computer users and businesses have a two week window within to strengthen their online security and protect themselves from a particularly harmful virus, commonly known as GOZeuS. The virus lies dormant on an individual computer until it detects sensitive information such as bank details, before capturing these and sending them on to criminals.
“The National Crime Agency is working hard to ensure greater security for individuals and businesses across the country. Cybercrime is an increasingly serious challenge for the police, costing individuals and businesses across our region millions of pounds each year, affecting livelihoods and damaging the local economy.
“I would echo their words in urging everyone to take greater measures to ensure improved online security. Sensitive information has to be protected in the same way it would be offline, don’t leave personal details in plain sight. Ensuring a computer is better protected, and reporting online fraud and scams will help to reduce the damage caused by cybercrime in the future.”