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McAfee comments on UK frequency of cyber attacks

McAfee : 06 September, 2007  (Technical Article)
In light of cyber attacks occurring in the UK every 10 seconds, McAfee offers some reasons for the trend and advice on how to prevent becoming a victim
Greg Day, security analyst from McAfee says,

'Today's news further validates the growing need to improve levels of online security, awareness and education.
Online crime continues to be the method of choice for fraudsters. The research has proved this with the reported number of cases of online financial fraud double that of the 'real world' financial fraud attacks.

There are a many reasons why criminals are beginning to more readily use online methods for illegal activities.
The first and perhaps the most appealing aspect of online crime is the level of anonymity and safety. There is often a great level of difficulty in tracing online crimes back to specific criminals. Cyber-criminals can employ a number of tactics to avoid detection such as using communal computers in cyber cafe's or planting infectious software on other users computers and allowing them to send it on through viral e-mails. Cyber crime's span international boundaries, so offer the criminal a much broader spectrum of potential victims. Policing of cyber attacks becomes even more difficult when the crimes cross international boarders. Currently there are no international laws in place for the preventing or regulating cyber-crime.

Cyber attacks have become an ever more prevalent issue on a consumer level as the volume of online-shoppers, bankers and users increase, as does the volume of personal information being posted online, both publicly on social networking sites, and privately on anything where users are asked to 'sign-up' and required to fill in an online-registration form.

As more people become reliant upon online services for various aspects of their lives and personal information is more readily exchanged, increasing levels of criminals are drawn to online crime.

Cyber crime is no longer only for the brave-hearted or the professional criminal. Cyber crime can be carried out by anyone with an internet connection. It is perhaps this ease that often allows curiosity and inquisitiveness to develop into criminal activity.

Online crime removes the personal interaction of 'real world' crime and so may remove aspects of guilt, fear, skill and emotion for the criminal, allowing them to commit crimes in a more enclosed, 'safer' environment where they don't see the repercussions of their actions and can make heat of the moment decisions with a last click of a button.

In order to try and avoid both curious and established professional cyber criminals, a number of precautions should be taken.
When using the internet on a system it is always advisable to be running a reputable antivirus software.
Users should regularly check their systems for any intrusion attempts of malicious software on their system.
Users should also be more aware of their online identities. When filling in personal details, try and restrict the amount of details you post to the minimum required.
Be sure that the sites being used are secure.
Don't post too much personal information on public sites such as social networking sites. Never give information to a source you are not sure is legitimate and the details are not necessary.'

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