CPP Group UK, part of the global CPP Group, develops innovative products in FinTech, InsurTech and cybersecurity to help insurers add further value to their products and services and deliver outstanding customer experiences.

According to Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, Covid-19-related cybercrime has driven serious hacker attacks in the UK to an all-time record number. CPP Group UK is supporting this year’s National Conversation Week by highlighting the escalating cyber risks people are facing in the home and providing expertise on how consumers can identify and best protect themselves against cyberattacks in a Covid-19 world.

Cyberattacks in the home sounds like the stuff of a Ridley Scott movie — but they’re a genuine threat to anybody with internet connectivity.

While big businesses are generally on the ball when it comes to cyber security, many small businesses and sole traders aren’t — and even fewer people are protected in their homes.

Cyberattacks occur at a staggering rate, and their impact can be disastrous. Take, for example, the British SME market. The UK’s 5.9 million SMEs form the target of 62% of cyberattacks, with the financial recovery bill reaching £13.6 billion in 2018 alone.

And while often it’s businesses who find themselves victims of cybercrime, the general public are by no means safe. The digital revolution of the past decade has transformed our personal and professional lives, but also increased our openness to risk. In fact, recent research by Barclays has revealed that 2020 was the highest year on record for scams in the UK, and UK Finance Fraud data sings a similar tune, reporting a 61% rise in remote banking and card fraud.

What makes this more alarming, is that according to estimates by the ONS, digitally-enabled crime stats are being dramatically under-reported: it’s suspected that a mere 1.7% of cybercrime offences from last year were referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

With UK households predicted to contain an average of around 50 different internet connected devices by 2023, the risk isn’t going anywhere: wherever there’s an internet connection, there’s a way for a cyberattack to take place.

What is cybercrime in the home?

Cybercrime is essentially any crime involving a computer and a network. It’s a broad definition, and that should give you an idea of the scale of the problem.

In the home specifically, cybercrime could refer to anything from identity theft via hacked email accounts to a ransomware demands to get you back in to your smart device. With the introduction of more software and functionality comes greater cyber exposure.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only amplified this risk. We’re spending far more time at home, including working. For many of us, this involves handling company data and financial information, often on our own laptops which tend to have fewer levels of security than office equipment.

If you ever check your junk mail folder, you’ll probably find it full to bursting with emails that are quite obviously scams — they’re badly spelled or from clearly fake email addresses, waving every red flag you could imagine.

Unfortunately, not all cybercrime is so easy to spot.

Often, cyber criminals will gain access to a genuine email account but lay dormant, striking at the most opportune moment so that their email appears to be genuine.

How to improve your cybersecurity

Staying on top of cybersecurity is an ongoing job, and it’s important that you regularly take steps to reduce your risk.

  • Get a good quality anti-virus software

Some of the best advice for staying cyber secure, download high-quality anti-virus software on all of your devices – including your phone. Also make sure to activate back-ups so that you have a copy of important files in case you lose access to the device.

  • Clear out your email accounts

If you’ve ever taken out a mortgage or rented a home, it is likely your emails will contain sensitive personal and financial information such as passport or driving license scans, bank details and utility bills. Make sure these are deleted — and cleared from your trash can, too.

  • Practice good cyber hygiene

27% of people use the same password across different accounts, which means that your email accounts provide cyber criminals with a wealth of data that they can exploit. With that one password, they can use access your social media, shopping sites and so on. Data breaches involving emails and passwords rose 10% between 2018 and 2019, and that trend hasn’t stopped.

 

Never reuse passwords, change your passwords regularly, use two-step authentication, and don’t use public wireless networks on private devices. These are all good ways to reduce your risk. Also keep all security software and operating systems updated – this can be done manually or automatically.

For online banking, ensure you only use the official app of your provider, and then only download this app from an official app store such as iTunes, Android Marketplace, Google, Play Store and BlackBerry World.

  • Consider financial protection

For a small monthly sum, you could buy cyber protection that will cover you for any issues such as ransomware attacks, phishing scams or hacker device damage, such as ClearScore’s Protect Plus.