Police say cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime, and as a result, more and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience, and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual.
In the mist of a rapid increase in cybercrimes, criminals target areas such as computer hardware and software attacks, financial crimes, corruption, and grooming or sexploitation, particularly against children.
Here are the top 10 cybercrime prevention tips to avoid becoming the next victim:
Use strong passwords
Use different user ID or password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down.
Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, and special characters and changing them regularly.
Be social media savvy
Make sure your social networking profiles, for example, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube and MSN, among other social networks, are set to private.
Check your security settings. Be careful what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever.
Secure your mobile devices
Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers. Download applications from trusted sources.
Install the latest operating system updates
Keep your applications and operating system, for example, Windows, Mac, and Linux, up to date with the latest system updates. Turn on automatic updates to prevent potential attacks on older software.
Protect your data
Use encryption for your most sensitive files, such as tax returns or financial records. Back up all your important data regularly and store it in another location.
Secure your wireless network
Wi-Fi (wireless) networks at home are vulnerable to intrusion if they are not secured properly. Review and modify the default settings.
Public wi-fi, also known as ‘hotspots’, is also vulnerable. Avoid performing financial or corporate transactions on these networks.
Protect your e-identity
Be cautious when giving out personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, or financial information, on the Internet.
Make sure that websites are secure, for example, when making online purchases, or that you have enabled privacy settings, for example, when accessing or using social networking sites.
Avoid being scammed
Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin. Do not feel pressured by any emails. Check the source of the message.
When in doubt, verify the source. Never reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or confirm your user ID or password.
Call the right person for help
Do not panic! If you are a victim, if you encounter illegal Internet content, for example, child exploitation, or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft, or a commercial scam, report this at your local police station.
If you need help with maintenance or software installation on your computer, contact your service provider or a certified computer technician.
Secure your computer
Firewalls are the first line of cyber defence. They block connections to unknown or bogus sites and will keep out a number of types of viruses and hackers.
Prevent viruses from infecting your computer by installing and regularly updating anti-virus software.
Prevent spyware from infiltrating your computer by installing and updating anti-spyware software.