Cybercrime: It’s a stiff task and no mistake!

Mick Gradwell
Mick Gradwell
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Are you aware of the risks posed by Cybercrime? Well if you aren’t, or if you don’t even know what Cybercrime is, please be assured you are not alone.

Nationally, it is now recognised that not enough is being done to inform computer users about the wide array of potential threats faced by anyone who uses the internet.

Admittedly, quite a lot of work has been done to warn people about the rise in paedophiles using social networking sites to sexually exploit children.

However, little has been done to educate adults on the threat of Cybercrime, at a time when online shopping, internet banking and the use of email have become the norm.

Last year a government report put the costs of identity theft to private computer users at £1.7 bn, the cost of online scams at £1.4 bn and £30m was the cost resulting from ‘scareware’, which is where criminals mislead people into downloading harmful software on to their computers.

Although events like the ninth European ‘Safer Internet Day’, which was held at the beginning of February, provide useful advice about password security and anti virus software, much of the available advice is far too complicated for the average computer user.

For example, one of the most common problems is finding out that your email account has been hijacked. This can be a minor annoyance, such as finding out adverts for Viagra are being sent to your friends...

Or it can be a major problem, where the hijacker scans your email system for personal details and steals your identity.

If you search the web for advice, your immediate problem is establishing what has infected your computer. Is it a Trojan, a virus, malware, spyware or a worm?

The terms and explanations are confusing and it is easy to succumb to gobbledygook and actually download something that will make matters much worse.

The scale of Cybercrime is massive and much of the threat originates from outside the country. For example it is reported that details of British bank customers are being sold for £19 a time on Russian websites, much of the information having been gathered by email scams.

It will continue to develop, evolve and increase and action needs to be taken promptly. The Government Cybercrime report recommends a sustained media campaign and the creation of a single authoritative advice website using plain English that details the threats and scams and how to respond to them.

I hope they do this quickly, as I am developing a Viagra-related complex which is not unconnected to my so-called group of friends!

If you would like Mick to give a talk to your society, a presentation or an educational lecture, contact 01253 600800 for further information.