Banking customers are to receive tips on defeating cybercriminals thanks to a new police project.
Reports of hackings are on the rise and so Nottinghamshire Police is delivering training sessions on how to protect online accounts.
All this week, workshops have been laid on for staff at the HSBC branch in Clumber Street in Nottingham city centre, with other colleagues across Nottinghamshire taking part virtually.
The sessions, delivered by the force’s cyber experts, were designed to update staff on current cybercrime trends and to explain what prevention methods are most effective.
Equipped with this knowledge, staff at the branch will now pass on advice to customers – both via one-to-one conversations and by handing out leaflets which were created in partnership with the East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre.
Kirsty Jackson, cyber protect and prevent officer at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The devices we use on a daily basis and the data they store are substantial targets for cybercriminals. We are therefore delighted to be working with HSBC to upskill staff so that they in turn can help customers protect themselves from these threats.
“The good news is you don’t need to be a computer expert to avoid becoming a victim. Just developing a few good online habits can drastically reduce the risk and that is why we’re embarking on this exciting project with HSBC.”
Among the latest trends is a rise in social media hackings and the training sessions outlined three ways people can protect themselves:
Always use a different password for each online account, otherwise one data breach will put all your accounts at risk.
Create strong passwords by combining three random words. For example, you could use: Hippo!Pizza.Rocket1?
Consider using a trusted password manager to keep a safe record of all your passwords.
Extra account protection
Enable ‘Two-Step Verification’ (via account settings) on each of your important accounts such as email, social media and shopping sites.
Always install updates when requested by your device software, apps and other programmes, as this helps to combat new cyber threats.
Back-up your important documents, messages, contacts, photos and videos on a separate device or in the cloud.
Avoiding phishing scams
Do not click on any unverified emails, texts or other messaging sites such as WhatsApp or through other social media platforms.
Verify suspicious emails or messages by checking with the company or organisation by contacting them directly via their official contact details.
Remember no genuine person or organisation will phone or message you unexpectedly to ask you to make changes to your password, share your authentication code or give them remote access to any of your devices.
Gursh Bassi, local director at HSBC Nottingham Market, said the workshops had really helped his staff understand how to reduce and protect against current cybercrime trends.
He said: “We are dedicated to supporting our customers and the community of Nottinghamshire and the chance to work alongside Nottinghamshire Police to raise awareness of cybercrime, which is becoming more prevalent in society and a real concern for our customers, is a fantastic way to support our community.
“We are grateful to Nottinghamshire Police for the work they do and the opportunity to help.”
The East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (EMCRC) is part of a UK-wide network of policing-led organisations set up to help businesses boost their cyber security.
Detective Inspector Matt Carson, said: "The EMCRC is pleased to be in partnership with our neighbours Nottinghamshire Police on this campaign. We hope the content we publish online - and provide in HSBC’s branches - will be of immense value to the communities of Nottinghamshire.
“By aligning ourselves with both Nottinghamshire Police and HSBC – two well respected organisations – we’re confident that people will take note of the advice.
"This advice is not revolutionary or complex, it is easy to understand and most of all extremely useful to both individuals and businesses, especially small businesses and sole traders who may rely heavily on social media to market their business.
“Also, with HSBC staff having undertaken the necessary training, they are now well-equipped to offer guidance to their customers. It’s vitally important that staff can impart this knowledge to people to help prevent them from becoming victims of a social media hacking, scams and fraud.”