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Police in Cheshire concerned residents are putting themselves at risk of cyber-attacks

Police in Cheshire say they are concerned residents are not taking their cyber security seriously.

A recent online survey conducted by the force has revealed that residents in the county are not as cyber-savvy as they think they are.

The online survey received almost 2,500 responses, and found: 

  • Three quarters of the respondents need to improve their password strength
  • Six out of 10 admitted they put off updating devices
  • Eight out of 10 respondents were overly-generous with personal information
  • Three quarters of respondents also revealed they have used public wifi at least once to shop or bank online

“It is estimated that around 80 per cent of known cyberattacks can be prevented,” explained Detective Sergeant Chris Maddocks, who leads on the force’s cyber strategy.

“What this survey set out to do was to test people’s knowledge on five key areas that can help you stay safe online. It is not the case of ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when’ it will happen to you.”

On Safer Internet Day, the force is urging people to think about it's 5Cs.

  • CREATE: create stronger passwords - think about using three random words, replacing some of the letters with symbols and numbers and use more than one password. You may consider a phrase for which your password uses the first letter of each word
  • COVER: it is important to cover vital security updates that help protect devices from hackers, viruses and identity theft. Not keeping software up-to-date can result in serious issues that can affect not only devices but personal security too
  • CONFIDENTIALITY: sharing what might seem like harmless news, such as where you work, when you're going on holiday, pets' names and so on, could help criminals get access to more personal data
  • CLICKING: think before you click on a link. They are not always what they seem and many look genuine at first glance. Only open attachments or click on links to websites if they are from someone you know and trust
  • CONNECTED: when carrying out such transactions, to ensure that the data that travels between the website and device is encrypted, there should always be a padlock AND https in the address bar, along with checking the website isn't fake.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “It is concerning to see that Cheshire residents are putting themselves at risk of cyber-attacks by not using a strong-enough password or oversharing personal details on social media.

“With cybercrime on the increase, the risks of being targeted by cyber criminals are increasing. But by making small changes to make your online profiles more secure, you can minimise this risk.

“I would encourage all Cheshire residents to review their online footprint to ensure it is as secure as possible.”

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