Author: David Webber
Staying safe online is becoming an increasingly significant challenge, especially in a society which is connected to the internet almost constantly, and through a variety of different channels. It will come as no surprise that as a result, instances of cybercrime have also become more common. Indeed, a report published in The Times recently revealed that five million Britons had to cancel their credit cards in 2015 as a result of cybercrime, and according to our own research, one in five Britons have fallen victim to cybercrime, including having their identity, money or bank details stolen.
As Get Safe Online day approaches on 18th October, it seems an appropriate time to assess the variety of measures which consumers can take to reduce the risk of online fraud. At the top of the list is education. Educating yourself and members of your family on protecting personal information, contact details and safe browsing behaviour is vital in minimising the potential for cybercrime. Banks and financial institutions also have a part to play in this education process as 30 per cent of people would like their bank to offer more advice on staying safe online.30 per cent of people would like their bank to offer more advice on staying safe online Click To Tweet
Passwords are also a necessary part of cyber safety and should be updated regularly. In fact, most cybersecurity guidelines specify a longer password, unique to each secure account, that changes every 30 days. For the majority however, this is not realistic and most people use similar passwords, or with minor variations, for all of their online activities and subscriptions, including their online bank account. Of course, while much easier to remember, this also makes it much easier to hack, through social engineering.
With passwords increasingly acknowledged as a weak defence against sophisticated hackers, people are justified in their concern with staying safe and secure online, especially when it comes to personal, financial or banking information. This is reflected by recent research from Ernst and Young, which reveals that 48 per cent of UK banking customers would not be comfortable sorting out their finances solely online or by mobile, and 33 per cent still don’t trust a bank without branches on the high street.
Educating yourself appropriately and having effective passwords are important, however as technology changes, banks need to adapt and reassure consumers that their data is safe within their digital banking platform by introducing new and more sophisticated security measures to ensure customer information is protected.