North Yorkshire Police is urging members of the public to make sure their mobile devices are secure in order to deter thieves and hackers.
Laptops, tablets and smartphones are more popular than ever. Two thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone, with 33% of internet users seeing this device as the most important for online activity.
Cybercrime is a real threat across the UK, including in North Yorkshire. Since 1 April 2015, there have been 624 cyber-related incidents reported to North Yorkshire Police. The nature of these incidents, range from online bullying and Child Sexual Exploitation to holiday fraud and identity theft.
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Walker, Head of Cybercrime at North Yorkshire Police, said:
We think it is an important and timely reminder, to encourage people take some simple measures to secure their mobile devices, not just against thieves, but also against viruses, hackers and online criminals. Many people will have got new laptops, smart phones or tablets for Christmas and we want people to look after these new devices – and themselves.
In relation to laptops, it is recommended you familiarise yourselves with security software such as full security software packages which provide virus scans, a firewall spam filtering and parental controls, and then anti-virus scanners and malware removal software which scan your devices for infections and remove them. For phones and tablets, tracking devices are really important.
I also want to take this opportunity to advise anyone who bought their children a new mobile device for Christmas, to make sure it is safe – make sure the gift you have bought for them does not threaten their safety. Parental controls, which can be applied to laptops, tablets and smartphones, are key in keeping your family safe online. They are available through your internet provider and are a quick and easy way of preventing children from accessing inappropriate sites on the internet.
What is vitally important, however, is to talk to children and young people about their online activity and have a basic understanding about the sites they use. This can help you to realise any potential threats and talk to your children about them.
One of the most important things for anyone going online is to really think about the information you are publishing online -the modern day criminal has the technology and ingenuity to piece together data and personal information in order to target you via the internet. Don’t publish anything that could threaten your personal security and safety.
North Yorkshire Police have produced an app which offers bespoke security advice for your smartphones and tablets. Get it here phonesecure.nyp.mobi
For more information about online safety and security visit www.cyberstreetwise.co.uk or www.getsafeonline.org