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From hackers exposing data to global ransomware attacks, cybercrime events are occurring frequently and severely, having significant impact on organisations. But it’s not only big businesses that are at risk. All kinds of organisations have been affected by cybercrime, including police departments, banks, hospitals and government agencies. Someone’s identity is stolen every three seconds as a result of cybercrime and there’s a one in five chance it could happen to you.
Dr Nick Patterson, teaching scholar in Deakin University’s School of Information Technology, says cyber security has been a problem since the dawn of the internet. ‘What has really pushed it into the next dimension has come down to more widespread use of technology, the internet, and educated and skilled technicians,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘Not everyone who learns how to use technology well will use it for good purposes.’
Dr Patterson says the key to protecting yourself against cybercrime is awareness. ‘Many people lack security education training and awareness. So when they do come across an exploit or someone trying to attack them, they don’t realise it. For example, clicking that link in a dodgy email.’
Despite the prevalence of cybercrime increasing, there are some simple measures Dr Patterson says you can take to protect your online information.
‘Firstly, keep your anti-virus or anti-malware software updated – you’re only as good as your last virus definition file. Use passphrases instead of passwords; for example, instead of ‘ABC123DEF’, use a phrase ‘IhaveAveryGOODpassword2017’ – this helps to avoid guessing or brute forcing. And avoid public Wi-Fi hot spots at hotels or airports. Hackers can sit on these public networks to track your information and steps,’ Dr Patterson concludes.
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