Tag Archives: National Cyber Crime Unit

Cyber Streetwise survey reveals 75% of Britons place online safety at risk

A new survey conducted by Cyber Streetwise has revealed that most people are not taking the necessary steps to protect their identity online, with 75% of those who took part in the study admitting they don’t follow Best Practice to create complex passwords.

The figures have been released during Cyber Security Awareness Month to mark the launch of the latest phase of the UK Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign. In partnership with the police service and industry experts, Cyber Streetwise aims to raise awareness of wise and unwise behaviour in the online space.

Despite 95% of Britons saying it’s their own responsibility to protect themselves online, two thirds are risking their safety by not using symbols in passwords. Nearly half (47%) exhibit other unsafe password habits such as using pet names or significant dates as their password.

Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Minister Karen Bradley MP explained: “When passwords are compromised, financial and banking details can be stolen and cause problems for the person affected, for businesses and for the economy. There’s an emotional impact caused by the loss of irreplaceable photos, videos and personal e-mails, but even worse these can be seized to extort money.”

Bradley added: “We can and must play a role in reducing our risk of falling victim to cyber crime. Most attacks can be prevented by taking some basic security steps, and I encourage everyone to do so.”

Vulnerability to ID theft, fraud and extortion

This latest research shows that 82% of people manage more online accounts that require a password than they did last year, with the average Briton dealing with 19. Over a third (35%) of those questioned admit that they do not create strong passwords because they struggle to recall them. However, poor passwords leave people vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and extortion.

Cyber crime presents a serious threat to the UK and the Government is taking action to increase public awareness of the risk, dedicating £860 million to this issue over the next five years through the National Cyber Security Programme. In essence, the Government is working hard to transform the UK’s response to cyber security.

The latest survey conducted by Cyber Streetwise has revealed that the majority of people are not taking necessary steps to protect their identity online

The latest survey conducted by Cyber Streetwise has revealed that the majority of people are not taking necessary steps to protect their identity online

Jamie Saunders – director of the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) National Cyber Crime Unit – commented: “The NCA is working closely with law enforcement colleagues all over the world to target and disrupt cyber criminals. We should be clear that the criminals will target weaknesses. On that basis, having weak passwords will leave people vulnerable.”

Saunders continued: “Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs to be stolen or held to ransom, so simple things like using three or more words, a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols and upper and lower case letters will make it much more difficult for hackers to access personal information.”

Creating strong and memorable passwords

Advice on creating strong and memorable passwords can be found at http://www.cyberstreetwise.com along with other easy tips for staying safe online. Tips for creating and remembering passwords include the following:

Loci method
Imagine a familiar scene and place each item that needs to be remembered in a particular location (ie a red rose on the table, a book on the chair, a poster on the wall). Imagine yourself looking around the room in a specific sequence. Re-imagine the scene and the location of each item when you need to remember

Acronyms
Use a phrase or a sentence and take the first letter from that sentence

Narrative methods
Remember a sequence of key words by creating a story and littering it with memorable details (for example, ‘The little girl wore a bright yellow hat as she walked down the narrow street…’)

Further information on Cyber Security Awareness Month is available at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/

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BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013: ‘Concerns growing over increase in shop theft’

This year’s British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Crime Survey has revealed that UK retailers are fighting a rising tide of theft in store.

Last year saw the highest level of theft for nine years and the average value of theft increased by 62% to £177 per incident, indicating that stealing is becoming more sophisticated and well-planned.

Criminal activity by a very small minority is having an impact on businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers.

Despite retailers investing an average of £2 million each on crime and loss prevention measures, they need help and support. Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set in London and work with retailers to build dedicated business crime strategies to help defeat this growing problem.

Direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Theft from stores pushed the direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million last year, 166% higher than five years ago. Far from being victimless, we all pay for this increased stealing through higher prices and, increasingly, shop closures and damage to town centres as safety is reduced and communities are blighted.”

Helen Dickinson: director general at the BRC

Helen Dickinson: director general at the BRC

Dickinson added: “Last year, we also saw a dramatic increase in fraud and e-crime with eight-in-ten retailers reporting a rise in fraud and the majority of retailers telling us that cyber attacks pose a critical threat to their business. Combined with the increase in organised theft, this means that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal.”

The BRC’s leader continued: “We want to work closely with Police and Crime Commissioners and the new National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to fight this serious crime, from fraud through to theft and on to cyber attacks. Our engagement has been positive so far, but it’s still early days and it’s important that they implement measures such as single points of contact and create dedicated business crime strategies.”

Single, national definition for business crime

The BRC survey recommends that there should be a single, national definition for business crime in the UK to help measure and solve these problems.

Police forces should routinely publish business crime data, share that information with retailers and work in partnership to combat crime.

In partnership, retailers, the police and Government can build on the introduction of the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to help retailers combat this growing problem.

These changes will not only fight crime, but also boost confidence and help to tackle the under-reporting problem that led to only one-in-ten thefts being reported last year.

Other key findings of the survey

It’s estimated there were 2.7 million offences against retailers in 2012-2013, directly adding £511 million to retailers’ costs.

Robberies were up 48%, but burglaries fell by 49% compared to last year. Despite the number of burglaries falling, the cost of each incident rose from £1,730 to £2,067.

The average cost per incident of criminal damage jumped by 114% in 2012-2013, from £962 to £2,062.

Downloaded the BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013

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Christmas shoppers warned to be vigilant when buying online

Action Fraud, the City of London Police and Get Safe Online are warning consumers to take extra care when shopping online for tablets, games consoles, electrical items and other Christmas gifts.

Last Christmas, fraudsters conned consumers out of more than £12 million through online shopping and auction scams. Action Fraud received more than 10,000 reports, with the average loss to victims more than £1,700.

Record numbers are expected to log-on for Christmas shopping this year, in turn creating opportunities for retailers and bargain hunters but also presenting opportunities for fraudsters.

Last year, fraudsters conned consumers out of more than £12 million over Christmas through online shopping and auction scams

Last year, fraudsters conned consumers out of more than £12 million over Christmas through online shopping and auction scams

Security minister James Brokenshire said: “We are taking the fight to cyber criminals with the newly-created National Cyber Crime Unit, which is part of the National Crime Agency, but the public should also stay vigilant to ensure they don’t lose their hard-earned money on fakes and frauds. Following straightforward steps while shopping online will help the public to avoid cyber fraudsters.”

Brokenshire added: “Shoppers can find great bargains online ahead of Christmas, and this time of year provides a welcome boost to retailers, but shoppers should remember if something looks too good to be true that’s often the case.”

Looking out for the warning signs

Action Fraud experts say that even the most confident online shopper can be caught out by professional fraudsters. Fraudsters often target vulnerable shoppers who are unsure in using modern technology.

Consumers should look out for the warning signs that a website may not be secure. Action Fraud, Get Safe Online and the City of London Police (who run the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau) encourage online shoppers to be particularly careful when using new websites and sites that offer deals that look too good to be true.

By following these simple tips you can keep fraudsters at bay this Christmas:

1. Trust your instincts: if an offer looks too good to be true it usually is. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted
2. Check the URL in the web browser. Don’t be fooled by spoof websites where the address is slightly different
3. Ensure the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage (this indicates a secure payment)
4. Don’t access links in unsolicited e-mails. Always type in the website address or use a search engine to find a site
5. Only deal with reputable sellers. Only use sites you know or ones that have been recommended to you
6. Avoid paying by money transfers direct to people you don’t know. Use an online payment option such as PayPal which helps to protect you
7. Watch out for pop-ups appearing asking you to confirm your card details before you’re on the payment stage. Never enter your PIN number online
8. If your bid for an online auction item is unsuccessful, don’t be tempted to trade off-site if another seller approaches you with a similar item. This is likely to be a scam and you will not be covered
9. Keep security software and firewalls up-to-date. Regularly update your Internet browser when a new patch (security update) is released
10. Keep receipts and check these against your statement. If you spot a transaction you did not authorise speak to your card company immediately.

Scams change and adapt

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: “£12.4 million is a huge amount of money to be lost to online fraud but, unfortunately, it’s the type of figure I see every year. The problem is, scams change and adapt as trends come and go. Scammers have also become more sophisticated as we get wiser to what is and isn’t legitimate so it’s understandable that people sometimes get caught out.”

Neate added: “We know how busy and stressful Christmas can be so we don’t want to overwhelm people with complicated advice, but we urge consumers to keep the basics in mind as a good preventative measure. It’s easy to get carried away when you spot a bargain online for that gift you’ve been all over the High Street trying to find, but take a step back and think before you buy it. Is it too good to be true?”

Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Clark, director of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, commented: “Online shopping has revolutionised the way in which we buy our Christmas presents, with each year more and more people choosing to search for gifts over the Internet rather than heading to the shops. However, the result is that online fraud is top of the festive scam list.”

He continued: “To reverse this trend, we all need to be extra careful about what we’re buying online and from whom, especially if it is popular technology at a reduced price. By carrying out all the necessary checks you should guarantee that your presents will be enjoyed by friends and family and not lost to fraudsters.”

Items most at risk from fraud

Based on an analysis from last year, the items most sought after – and therefore most at risk from fraud – are smart phones. However, electronic goods in general, including computers, tablets, laptops, games consoles and e-readers were also very popular.

In January, the Government and partners will be launching a new campaign to increase public and small and medium enterprises’ confidence online by helping them to adopt simple changes to their online behaviour.

Private sector partners who have joined the campaign include Financial Fraud Action UK, Sophos, the RBS Group, Trend Micro and Facebook who are providing investment and support.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of this type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud so that the incident can be passed to the police.

Christmas shopping tips from Get Safe Online

http://www.getsafeonline.org/themes/ChristmasCampaign/index.php

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