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6 ways to protect against online crime

24 February 2021

The new Cyber Aware campaign offers simple steps to help protect the public and small businesses from the majority of preventable cyber incidents. 

6 ways to protect against online crime

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched a new Cyber Aware Initiative designed to designed to empower and enable the public, sole traders and microbusinesses to better understand how to stay secure online and to take practical steps to help do so.

Devised by technical experts at the NCSC, the campaign highlights the threat that cyber criminals pose as we all spend more time online.

The increased use of email, online payments, virtual meetings, and improved access to loans and innovation grants has brought great benefits to businesses, but it comes with risk of falling victim to cyber criminals. The campaign emphasises that online security is as important as physical security.

Luckily, however, if you work for yourself or run a small business with fewer than 10 employees, there are actions you can take to protect yourself online according to the Cyber Aware campaign.

At the heart of the Cyber Aware campaign are six practical steps which can help protect against the majority of online crime, helping to keep you secure by protecting your password, accounts and devices:

  1. Create a separate password for your business email account – your inbox contains lots of sensitive information about your business. It’s the gateway to all your online accounts so keep it safe with a strong password that's different to all your others.
  2. Create a strong password using three random words – the longer your password, the harder it is to hack. Long passwords can be difficult to remember. But using three random words will help you create passwords that are both long and strong. Start with your most important business accounts, like email.
  3. Save your passwords in your browser – remembering lots of passwords can be difficult, but if you save them in your browser you don't have to and it's safer than re-using the same password for all your accounts.
  4. Turn on two-factor authentication – this free security feature adds an extra layer of protection online and stops cyber criminals getting into your accounts, even if they have your password.
  5. Update your devices – using the latest software, apps and operating system can fix bugs and immediately improve your security.
  6. Backup – backing up means you always have a copy of your important business data in the event it’s lost or stolen e.g., contract information, customers personal details, key contacts. Make sure these backups are recent and can be restored

Cyber Aware is a cross-government campaign designed to help keep us secure online. The campaign is delivered in partnership with Cabinet Office, Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

You can find out more about how to protect yourself by visiting the NCSC’s Cyber Aware website.

  • Simon Barney, head of communications at ICE