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Gloucestershire Business News

One in five 10 to 16-year-olds commit offences online

Parents and teachers are being urged to educate children on the dangers of low-level cybercrime.

That is after a new study from The National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed that one-in-five 10 to 16-year-olds have committed offences online.

The study says children often don't realise that what they're doing is breaking the Computer Misuse Act.

Low-level crimes could include:

• Downloading software to access another person's device

• Attempting to access a protected server

• Buying something using saved card details in someone else's account

• Making in-game purchases without the permission of the account holder

• Launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks using online services

Experts at have shares the 10 most common ways online users put themselves at risk of a data breach online:

• Using public Wi-Fi - identity theft is the biggest risk when using public Wi-Fi. Hackers can take advantage of public Wi-Fi's lax security to spy on you and steal your personal information and passwords. If you need to use public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to any Wi-Fi hotspot (including your own). A VPN connection disguises your data traffic online and protects it from external access.

• Privacy settings are not so private - many things, including your personal social media direct messages, GPS, and photographs can be accessed easily if you are not restricting third-party access to apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok etc.

• Using the same passwords for several accounts - 32% of internet users reuse the same password across five to 10 websites and apps. This is one of the riskiest things you can do, as once a hacker guesses one password, they can guess several.

• Keeping unused accounts open - unused old accounts which are still open are likely to have weaker passwords and poor data protection policies.

• Carelessly clicking any links - clicking a malicious link can expose your personal data online or infect your device with malware. Normally, malicious links are lurking on things such as online quizzes, free offers, unsolicited adverts and spam emails etc.

• Not using multi-factor authentication - multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another layer of security which requires you to verify your identity with more than one piece of information before accessing an account. An example of this could be using a fingerprint or facial recognition scan, after entering a password.

• Oversharing online - social media is great for sharing your whereabouts with friends and family. But if a cybercriminal has their eye on you as a potential victim, any information such as full name, date of birth, home address, contact number, email address, photos or videos can help them get a step closer to hacking you.

• Not keeping antivirus software up to date - it is important not to neglect security and ensure you are running regular antivirus and malware protection scans.

• Not having a firewall set up - a firewall will act as a barrier for any unauthorised intruders who may want to access your network. Firewalls monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic within your device's network.

• Being uneducated - if you are going to use the internet, you should take time to research trends and look up any ongoing news around data breaches, security status etc. If you work remotely or own your own business with remote workers, putting secure, robust systems in place to keep you and your business network educated and safe is extremely important. You should ensure every member of staff is security trained and knows exactly what to look out for when cyber threats or malware occur.

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