Recently, your editor was the victim of a computer hack-attack, where miscreants rather cleverly tried to tap into his holiday lettings system.

They didn’t succeed. Don’t you become a target. Following these simple rules:

Don’t use public networks

Public wifi networks are ubiquitous. As a result, scammers are setting up open networks in busy locations, such as train stations or coffee shops, and then lifting the data of oblivious users. The data for Facebook, Twitter, and other popular accounts are at serious risk. Your best solution is to adjust your smartphone’s settings to switch off automatic wifi connection and rely instead on your carrier ’s network.

Secure your passwords

Adding numbers, special characters and capital letters helps to make a password more secure. Deliberately misspelling words also helps to defeat dictionary-based hacking programs.

Don’t buy ID theft insurance

Banks and insurers capitalise on fears over fraud by offering ‘identity theft insurance’. For £90-£150 a year, banks offer assistance if you are a victim of fraud, including your own dedicated expert, access to your personal credit report, and insurance protecting you from losses. But according to the banking code, you are not liable for losses resulting from identity theft unless it can be shown that you have acted “fraudulently or without reasonable care”. This negates the value of the insurance cover; whether the premium is justified by access to a personal ID theft czar is questionable.

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