Cyber crime worse than street crime

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Internet hosting firm UKFast is backing gadget authority Gizmodo in its calls to make a ‘Change Your Password Day’ after a debate highlighted the growing need for consumers to protect themselves from cybercrime that is becoming more common than street crime.

A group of cyber security experts gathered at UKFast’s head offices to discuss the greatest cyber security threats faced by consumers and businesses in 2012. They agreed that cyber crimes are becoming increasingly common in today’s society and suggested individuals are more likely to suffer a cyber attack than a physical crime such as burglary or assault.

Tony Dyhouse, cyber security director with the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network cited statistics from the Norton Security report 2011: ‘Fourteen people every second are falling victim to cyber crime and more than two thirds of online adults have been a victim of cyber crime in their lifetime – that’s 431million adult victims every year and a very significant number.’

David Cook, solicitor advocate and cyber security expert at Pannone continued: ‘The annual loss due to cybercrime is now matching the annual worth of the global drugs market. That’s massive. Comparing cyber crime to street crime, anyone can be a victim of cybercrime because everyone has a computer, a mobile device or a set top unit and it’s very easy for anyone to commit a cyber crime. Most people wouldn’t have the bottle to break into a house but a hell of a lot of people would find it easy in a room at home on their own to click a few buttons and see where they could go.’

Online gadget authority Gizmodo has dubbed 1 February ‘Change Your Password Day’. UKFast is supporting its campaign and offering advice on how to create a robust password. As UKFast revealed in 2011, the power of cheap graphics cards leaves most passwords vulnerable to crack – it can take just 12 seconds to crack a six character password.

Neil Lathwood, UKFast’s IT director said: ‘It is vital to protect your information as well as possible. Passwords need to be long, complex and changed regularly. Most importantly, we should have different passwords for each account, so if one account is compromised we are not gifting access to every one of our accounts and profiles.’

UKFast’s top tips for password safety:

  • Use a mix of upper and lowercase character, numbers and symbols – Af197’£

  • The longer the better, a phrase would be ideal such as: ILoveL!v3rPO0LFc185

  • Use different passwords for each account

  • Change your passwords regularly

  • No dictionary-listed words or obvious passwords, eg: Password, 123456, drowssap…

  • No dates of birth, initials, names or anything that would be easy to guess from a social media profile, e.g.: Alice1987