The National Crime Agency (NCA) is launching a campaign to make people more aware of the dangers of being online without security software.
According to the NCA, 40% of adults don’t install security software on new computers and mobile devices, which increases the risk of cyber criminals accessing their private details.
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The NCA wants to encourage people to download and update their security software, by highlighting how cyber criminals can access bank accounts, email addresses and even webcams, remotely.
“What we do know is that far too many people continue to put themselves and others at risk online,” he said. “However, the cost to individuals not only hits their pockets but also their personal and family life, which is why it’s important that everyone takes steps to protect their computer, tablet and mobile.”
The NCA’s tips for protecting yourself online:
- Install security software and ensure your software and operating systems are up to date
- Don’t open files either on a website or in an email from an unknown or suspicious source
- Be cautious when putting USB sticks and CDs into your device
- Buy legitimate software from reputable companies and download free software with caution
The NCA said 10,731 victims of cyber fraud last year, many of which were infected after opening emails, visiting websites and downloading software that contained malicious viruses. The NCA said that in some cases people became infected after putting memory sticks and CDs into their computers.
The National Cyber Security Tracker, which is used to measure people’s online security behaviours, said 37% of adults occasionally install security software on new devices, while 41% of 18-44 year olds take risks online by sharing their passwords and downloading emails from unknown senders.
The campaign is being led by the NCCU in partnership with the government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign.
Organised Crime Minister, Karen Bradley, said: "The internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise, but cyber crime now poses a serious threat to the UK, and the government has taken action to transform the way we respond.
"Through the National Cyber Security Programme, we have dedicated £860m over five years to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to go online. The NCA works with police forces to pursue those involved in criminal activity.”