Have you ever been a victim of cybercrime? Would you even know whether your computer was infected? According to Symantec, 55% of people don’t know if their computer’s clean of viruses.
Yesterday I went along to Symantac’s (the people who make Norton anti-virus software) launch of its annual report on cybercrime. There are some pretty hard-hitting figures – for example there are 12.5 million victims of cybercrime in the UK, costing the economy £1.8bn.
Symantec reveals that mobile internet and social sites are a growing source of cybercrime. Of course, this is in part down to ever increasing numbers of people using social sites and mobile technology to access the internet. However, this in turn encourages criminals to target mobile and social users as their target is ever expanding.
It’s worth noting that the threat of falling victim via mobile is still low in comparison to becoming a victim of PC cybercrime, we’re talking tens of cases each week not thousands, but it’s worth being aware of the risks whenever you’re online.
Falling into a tempting trap
Every now and then viruses pop up on social networking sites tempting you with the phrase ‘look what someone’s saying about you!’ They hook you in with intriguing lines or good offers, then in turn spam all of your friends when you fall for the trap.
You might think it’s a silly mistake to make, but these links usually come from a trusted source – one of your close friends who has fallen for the scam before you. In the case of Facebook, these scams will usually repost themselves on your wall, and on Twitter they’ll often redirect you to a fake Twitter login page. You input your details and – voila! The hackers can get into your account and spam your friends – and so the chain goes on.
It can be the case that no real harm is done, the virus just sends the same nuisance message on. However, it just proves how easily you can be tricked out of your password and be made to feel vulnerable online.
How to protect yourself from cybercrime
So, you might now be wondering what you do to protect yourself from cybercrime. Our guide to avoiding scams online can help, but it’s also definitely worth using anti-virus, anti-spyware, a firewall and malware protection. All of which are available for free individually or part of a paid-for security suite.
Also make sure you use a strong password (one which contains a variety of characters, including numbers and upper- and lower-case letters) and change it regularly. And of course, don’t fall into the trap my friend fell into; never follow links from an unknown or suspicious looking source.
Are you concerned about cyber attacks? Have you been a victim of one, or you well-versed with how to protect yourself?