What Is Cyber Security?

We’re spending increasing amounts of time online, so it’s more important than ever to keep safe on the internet. Let’s look at some cyber security tips so you can avoid falling victim to an online scam, whether you’re browsing social media on your mobile device or online shopping on your computer.

Cyber security definition

Cyber security (sometimes called information technology security) refers to the systems and processes that are needed to protect computers, networks and mobile devices from malicious cyber attacks. It aims to prevent security breaches and avoid any unauthorised access to sensitive information. In short, we’re talking about keeping you safe from online scams, whether it’s on your smartphone or a laptop you’re using to work from home. Below we’ll look at several broad categories of cyber security in more detail.

Common types of Cyber Security

Why is cyber security important?

In a cloud-based and ‘always-on’ world, there has never been so much data created. Nearly all of us will have signed up to new services on the internet at one point or another, whether it is for banking, investing, insurance or shopping. As more elements of our daily life move online, each of us is producing an ever-increasing amount of information. We share photos, videos, comments, audio and wide-ranging details about our personal lives on social media without a second thought. And we think nothing of entering our credit card details into an app on our mobile device to order everything from taxis to take-away. Not only that, but all the data we are creating is then being moved around – sometimes multiple times and often globally.

Unfortunately, this new age of digital sharing also means new opportunities for criminals to take advantage. There are now a whole host of online scams, ranging from the most common methods such as phishing schemes and malicious software to fake charities. This is where cyber security steps in! One of the main ways to keep yourself safe online is by using computer security solutions which protect your personal information and sensitive data from hackers, viruses and other types of cyber attack.

When we think of cyber criminals, we often imagine them planning an attack on a large organisation hoping to gain sensitive information about multi-million pound deals or political insight. But scammers target individuals too. In these cases they usually want to trick you out of your hard-earned cash, or to get hold of your personal information so they can sell it on to criminal gangs. This means that whether you’re at home or at work, it’s important to be aware of cyber security best practice.


What are the most common types of cyber security threat?

Unfortunately, there are lots of different types of cyber threats and online scams, with criminals constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to target people. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the tactics they use, so it’s more important than ever to be alert to potential threats when using the internet. While individual scams will work in slightly different ways, the intention is usually similar. To cause damage to your computer/device, to steal personal information which they can sell on, or to trick you into disclosing sensitive information such as your credit card number, or the PIN for your bank card. Let’s go through at some of the most common examples so that you know what to look out for.

Understanding cyber crime and threats

New types of online scam are always being developed. Yet whether it is a phishing scheme (the most common of them all) or a romance or investment scam, the criminals behind it always have the same intent. They are trying to prey upon the vulnerabilities of the internet user and exploit them for financial gain – all using their broadband connection. If you want to protect yourself from cybercriminals, you need to find ways to protect both your emails and your mobile device, the two most common places where ordinary people can easily become victims.

What is the scale of the cyber threat?

In 2018, people around the globe lost over £500 million from online scams. As internet usage continues to grow, and with new technologies emerging, this trend towards cyber crime has only increased. The number of reports increases each year, as does the sophistication of the scammers.

Who are the most common targets of cyber crime?

Statistics shows that some industries are more likely to be targeted than others. These include retailers, public organisations and the medical services sector. Cybercriminals target victims in these fields, looking to attack their networks in order to gain financial information and sensitive data about customers, such as their email addresses and passwords. In some cases, they even seek to access information which could threaten national security.

How have governments responded to cyber threats?

Cyber crime now poses such a large threat that numerous governments around the world have issued guidance on how organisations can put effective cyber security solutions into place. In the USA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a cyber-security framework. Similarly, in this country, the government’s National Cyber Security Centre has published ’10 steps to cyber security’ to help protect the UK businesses.

Is cyber crime getting better or worse?

The threat of cyber crime is growing at a rapid rate, not just here in the UK but around the world. Predictions point to an increase in the number of data breaches and a rising cyber threat over the coming years. However, it’s not all bad news. This higher threat is expected to prompt businesses and organisations to increase their investment in effective cyber-security practices.

Tips to protect yourself against online scams

With malicious criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s easy to fall victim to one of any number of the latest cyber-security threats. You might unknowingly open an email attachment at work which contains malware that infects the organisation’s entire business network. Or one of the kids might use an unsecure Wi-Fi network when they’re out in a public place, opening them up to identity theft. We know that having a secure system is, but what can you do to keep you and your family safe while using the internet? Let’s look at a few general guidelines for protecting yourself against online scams.

Tackling cyber security with your internet provider

As a company, we take our commitment to protecting your personal information very seriously. One of the main ways we keep all our data safe is with a comprehensive set of cyber security measures. Here at Virgin Media we use an ever-evolving set of tools, approaches and programs, to protect our most precious data, daily. If you want to know more, just get in touch.

Take our online cyber security quiz to learn more about online crime and how to stay safe.

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