A thoughtful approach to avoiding cybercrime

As cybercrime continues to rise, it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant to avoid becoming victims.

Whereas hackers previously tended to indiscriminately target as many devices or users as possible, now they may target wealthy individuals with public profiles and weak cyber security.

But there are some simple ways to protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of digital crime.

Cybercrime is a people problem

Protecting yourself against cybercrime starts by understanding that it is a “people problem, not a technology problem,” says Matt Cullina, head of global cyber insurance business for CyberScout, a TransUnion brand and providers of the NFU Mutual Bespoke Cyber Assistance Helpline. It is a crime that involves manipulating people and often criminals get away with it due to a lack of awareness and human error.

Following data breaches, many people’s personal details are now available for hackers to buy cheaply online. Matt explains: “They will have baseline information about you: your email, where you live, your social media accounts, who you are connected with. From there they can build a profile and use that to try to find a weak link and manipulate you.” 

Criminals can use this information to carry out one of the most common types of attacks: electronic funds transfer fraud. This is often targeted at wealthy individuals who frequently send money for investments or business deals.

One way this happens is by impersonating an individual and tricking someone close to them to transfer money. Matt says: “The hacker may impersonate a business owner and send a message to their HR or finance team saying, ‘I need this money sent to my personal accounts immediately.’ Everything looks normal so nobody double checks.”

The best way to prevent this is by educating yourself and those around you: your employees and family members. If they are aware of the risks, they are less likely to “fall victim to easy tricks”, Matt advises.

Think twice before clicking

One way people can avoid becoming a victim of digital crime is by pausing to check links before clicking on them.

“People have become accustomed to automatically click ‘I accept’ or ‘I acknowledge’ when online. So, when you come across a fraudulent link, you may not hesitate before clicking on it,” Matt says.

Spending a few seconds to check whether a message or the link it contains looks legitimate can make all the difference. Matt says: “If your bank sends you a text telling you to change your password ASAP, take just a little longer to check it. Your bank is never going to pressure you like that.”

Another simple way to protect yourself online is by accepting any extra layers of digital security that are available from services and apps you use. This includes signing up to multifactor authentication, when you need a second verification method to prove who you are. “Don't just say no as it’s a hassle,” Matt suggests. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Finally, Matt reminds people that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and seek advice. “Most people don't know where to turn, but NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance customers can reach out to CyberScout if they think they have been the victim of an incident. We offer help and advice as part of their policy.”

There are certainly lots of people who would value extra help to stay safe online. NFU Mutual’s research showed that 37% of High-Net-Worth individuals would like more support on cyber security.

Personal Cyber cover is included as standard with NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance. With dedicated support and cover up to £50,000 a year should you fall victim to cybercrime, plus access to a 24/7 Cyber Assistance Helpline. 

NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance is specially designed to cover high-value homes with contents over £150,000. It provides one of the highest quality offerings in the market and is rated 5 Star for High Net Worth Home Insurance by leading financial information, ratings and fintech business Defaqto.