In the fast-paced world we live in, cybercrime is nothing new, but as a problem, it’s escalating more rapidly than Man City’s goals tally, with cyber crime costing the UK £11bn in the past year.
Speaking to Journalists, Matt from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says, “For your email, you need to use a strong password which is completely different from all your other accounts. A good way to create a strong password is to use three random words. You do many things on email that provide information. If someone gets access to your inbox, there’s plenty of information on there a hacker might be interested in, to put a picture of your life together and masquerade as you.”
They can then open up bank accounts and ‘conduct identity fraud of all kinds’, as well as gathering credit card information and finding other ways to exploit you by getting into other accounts you have, i.e. if they hack you on PayPal, they’ll have a stab at Facebook and vice versa.
Hackers use various ways to extract data. While Twitter and Facebook have ‘obvious security features’, if someone gets hold of your email password they can easily access your social media accounts by asking for your password to be reset. This means they can access your DMs or private messages on Messenger, where you may reveal banking or intimate details you don’t want anyone to see.
It’s important to remember that your social media accounts can give away vital clues about yourself so don’t use words such as your favourite sports team or your boyfriend’s name which are really simple for hackers to guess.
Yes, if you’ve got hundreds of pics of ‘Fluffy the Dog’ and ‘fluffy’ happens to be your password, that’s not very smart. But if your password is your favourite holiday destination, plus the year you went, that’s still reasonably breakable through the ‘brute force’ or ‘cracking’ programmes software hackers regularly use. And it’s not just hackers. Matt points out that a jealous boyfriend, a stalker or even an overbearing parent might go to great lengths to see what’s going on in your Facebook and other social media accounts.
So, whether you’re in the throes of young love or recently sent your bank details to mates to cover the stag do kitty, make sure you use a strong – and separate – password for your email.