There is no doubt that technology has made life easier in many respects, but it has also created a new range of opportunities for criminals can get their hands on your hard-earned cash. With more companies allowing employees to use their personal devices in the workplace, a cyberattack on your business could also lead to your private data being compromised.
Hardly a week goes by without news of a major security breach involving an online service provider, but despite this a surprising number of people still fail to take their online security seriously. A recent report found that Spain was one of the five most vulnerable countries in Europe when it comes to cybercrime, so it pays to take precautions to prevent both you and your business from becoming a victim.
With an increasing number of services moving online, it’s tempting to use the same easy-to-remember password over and over again across a range of websites. Astonishingly, during 2016 almost one in five people used 123456 as a password.
Even if you use very strong passwords for those sites you feel are most vulnerable but, in order to save time, repeatedly use a very simple password elsewhere. This can provide criminals an easy way to gather compromising information about you, as accessing one site then provides them entry to others.
Many websites ask a number of seemingly innocent security questions to enable users to gain access in the event that they forget their passwords, but information such as your mother’s maiden name, the name of your first pet or the name of the street where you grew up can often provide a criminal with a starting point from which to steal your identity.
In order to fill in the gaps in their knowledge, some cybercriminals will engage in “social engineering” by calling you on the telephone and using what little information they have to attempt to convince you that they represent your bank or credit card company. Always remember that no financial institution will ever ask for your password or to provide account details over the phone. Nor will they ever ask you to transfer money to a new account as a precaution against fraud.
If your personal or business data has been compromised, employing a firm that specializes in digital forensics can help track down the source of the breach as the first step to taking legal action and recovering any losses. Although many such crimes are motivated by sheer financial greed, it isn’t unknown for some criminals to seek to obtain personal information for other purposes, such as blackmail or industrial espionage, so finding out who is responsible is especially important.
The personal information you enter into a website as a password is not going to have legal implications, so there is no reason to use the real maiden name of your mother or even your exact date of birth. Should such a site ever be compromised, you can rest assured that any such information that falls into the hands of criminals will be of no use to them.