Last edited 26 Feb 2021

Main author

The Institution of Civil Engineers Institute / association Website

Protecting against online crime



[edit] Introduction

A cyber aware campaign offers simple steps to help protect the public and small businesses from the majority of preventable cyber incidents. The campaign is delivered in partnership with Cabinet Office, Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

[edit] Response to increased online usage

In February 2021, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) introduced a cyber aware initiative designed to empower and enable the public, sole traders and microbusinesses to better understand how to stay secure online and to take practical steps to help do so. Devised by technical experts at the NCSC, the campaign highlights the threat that cyber criminals pose to those who spend more time online.

Increasing use of email, online payments, virtual meetings and improved access to loans and innovation grants brings great benefits to businesses, but it comes with risk of falling victim to cyber criminals. The campaign emphasises that online security is as important as physical security.

Luckily, however, for those work for themselves or run a small business with fewer than 10 employees, there are protective actions that can be taken online according to the cyber aware campaign.

[edit] Six steps

At the heart of the cyber aware campaign are six practical steps which can help protect against the majority of online crime, helping to keep people secure by protecting passwords, accounts and devices:

1. Create a separate password for business email accounts. An inbox contains lots of sensitive information about a business. It is the gateway to all online accounts, so it should be kept safe with a strong password that's different from all others.

2. Create a strong password using three random words. The longer the password, the harder it is to hack. Long passwords can be difficult to remember. But using three random words will help users create passwords that are both long and strong. Start with the most important business accounts, like email.

3. Save passwords in a default/preferred browser. Remembering lots of passwords can be difficult, but if they are saved in a primary browser, users do not have to remember them. It is also safer than re-using the same password for all accounts.

4. Turn on two-factor authentication. This free security feature adds an extra layer of protection online and stops cyber criminals getting into accounts, even if they have obtained the password.

5. Update devices. Using the latest software, apps and operating system can fix bugs and immediately improve security.

6. Backup. Backing up means there is always a copy of important business data in the event it’s lost or stolen e.g., contract information, customers personal details, key contacts. Make sure these backups are recent and can be restored.

This article originally appeared on the new portion of the ICE website under the headline, '6 ways to protect against online crime'. It was written by Simon Barney and published on 24 February 2021.

--The Institution of Civil Engineers

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