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Kaspersky Comment Sir Richard Branson is joining the fight against scammers

January 2020 by Kaspersky

In light of the news that Sir Richard Branson is joining the fight against scammers, the comment below from David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

“In today’s digital age, online fraud is a very real threat and the responsibility to protect against it should be at the top of the priority list for banks, the government and organisations. There is also a personal responsibility for consumers to protect themselves of course – see our advice below. In 2018 alone, criminals successfully stole £1.2 billion through fraud and scams, despite significant investments to protect consumers – so it’s great to see Richard Branson, with his profile. bringing this matter to light. With almost every area of our daily lives now supported or driven by our digital life, people are more vulnerable than ever to a host of sophisticated and varied cyber-threats. Cybercriminals will never stop trying to compromise systems to obtain valuable information and we need to be more prepared to deal with these sort of attacks in the future as celebrity profiles become even more of a target.”

10 simple and practical steps you can take to make yourself safer from fraud are as follows:
1. Secure your devices using Internet security software.
2. Make sure you apply security updates to your operating system and applications as soon as they are available.
3. Only use secure sites. Look for a URL beginning with ‘HTTPS://’ - that’s ‘S’ for SECURE. Look also for a closed padlock on the web browser’s address bar - by clicking or double-clicking on it, you will be able to see details of the site’s security.
4. Use a unique password for every online site - use a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters and make sure they’re at least 15 characters long. The longer the better.
5. It’s important for individuals to ensure that their passwords are complex, that they do not reuse them on different sites and that they change them regularly. Alternatively, people can use a password manager application to handle all this for them automatically.
6. Don’t recycle passwords or use real words. They are open to ‘dictionary attacks’, where someone uses a program to quickly try a huge list of possible words until they find one that matches your password.
7. Don’t click on random links in e-mails - it’s better to type in a URL yourself, to avoid the risk of ending up on a phishing site. If a deal seems too good to resist, go directly to the website to find it, rather than click on the link, to be sure.
8. Stick to familiar brands that you know or have heard of. But even then you need to take care - criminals often deliberately misspell the name of their fake websites to make it look like a familiar top brand company.
9. If you do buy from a new vendor, research it carefully. A good test is to see if they can be contacted if an order goes wrong - look for an e-mail, a phone number, an address and a returns policy. A vendor’s feedback history is another good sign of their honesty and reliability.
10. Use extra caution when using your mobile device for online purchases. Shortened URLs, often used because they are phone-friendly, can hide the fact that they lead to a risky site. If you have to make a transaction then and there, switch Wi-Fi off and use mobile data. Otherwise wait until you are back on a secured connection.
11. Avoid using untrusted public Wi-Fi hotspots for confidential transactions like online shopping - public Wi-Fi networks are common places for hackers to sneakily intercept your information.
12. Keep checking your accounts to make sure you notice any unusual/fraudulent activity straight away.

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