As the COVID-19 crisis has caused more people to be working from home and accessing online resources remotely, the UK has seen a sharp rise in cybercrime, from fake online shops to phishing sites and email scams.
Today, The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, has launched the cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign, offering guidance for businesses and individuals to protect passwords, accounts and devices during this time.
Encouraging people to ‘Stay home. Stay Connected. Stay Cyber Aware’, the NCSC’s top tips for staying secure online are:
1. Turn on two-factor authentication for important accounts
2. Protect important accounts using a password of three random words
3. Create a separate password that you only use for your main email account
4. Update the software and apps on your devices regularly (ideally set to ‘automatically update’)
5. Save your passwords in your browser
6. To protect yourself from being held to ransom, back up important data
With many of us now using video conferencing software for the first time, the NCSC has also published specific guidance around these services, with tips on how to set up accounts, arrange chats and monitor participants, to help protect your devices while using these platforms. Their top line suggestions for video conferencing are:
· Never make meetings public
· Only connect with people through your address book or contacts
· Never post the link or password to your chat publicly
More detailed information on staying safe during video conferencing can be found on the NCSC website.
Finally, if you think you or your business has been targeted by an online scam, the NCSC and City of London Police have set up a Suspicious Email Reporting Service. If you or anyone in your business receives a dubious email, including anything claiming to offer support related to COVID-19, forward it to email@example.com, where it will automatically be tested, then removed if found to be fraudulent.
These simple tips could help protect you and your business from cybercrime, so please share with your staff to make them aware of how to keep themselves safe online.