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With the modern world is increasingly dependent on smart technology, experts are becoming concerned with the alarming cyber security skills gap.

A gap that is only going to grow according to Michael Brown, the head of the cyber security company Symantec, who says that the company has estimated that there will be 6 million jobs globally by 2019 of which 1.5 million will go unfilled.

It’s a situation that has led to high demand in the healthcare, technology, engineering and computer science industries, with demand according to the recruitment website Indeed outstripping supply at the moment by three times.

In a bid to deal with the crisis leading educational institutions are taking action and encouraging the need for cyber security research.

Newcastle University’s School of Computing Science, an acknowledged Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research is now running a free online course for those who want to learn more about how to keep safe online taught by university lecturer Dr. Steve Riddle.

The course will begin on 20th March though some handy tips have been been revealed ahead of the course for avid learners to read. Already a discussion is taking place with over 340 participants located in Europe, America, Africa and East Asia.

 

Photograph by Jisc.

Photograph by Jisc.

 

1) Make sure your passwords aren’t easy to guess. Hackers can use a “brute force” dictionary attack to crack short passwords in seconds so avoid your birthday, your names, proper words (even with replacements such as “5” in place of “s”) and sequences like ABC or 123.

2) Try and use a different email address which you can reserve exclusively for online shopping. This means that if you are compromised, you can minimise the damage.

3) Never click on a link in an email, even if it seems to come from someone you know. Criminals are now getting cleverer and are spear phishing – using personal information to send individual targeted emails rather than “spamming” large numbers of people.

4) Have one bank account which you can use exclusively for online shopping. This means that if cyber thieves do get through your security, they can only access a relatively small amount of money.
Don’t use the same password for more than one account for the same reasons as in 1) above.

5) If it’s easy to guess plus if you use the same one over and over again, it can be disastrous if you are the victim of a cyber attack.

6) Never put your whole wallet on a contactless reader on a bus or train – there’s a chance it can read all of your credit and debit cards and you could end up paying more than you bargained for.

7) Change your privacy settings on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter so that only people you know can find out information about you.

8) Use an online wallet such as PayPay or Google Wallet to pay for items on line, which means your credit card details won’t be sent to online retailers.

9) Check out new online retailers before you make a purchase for the first time. A quick search will highlight if anyone else has had a problem.

10) Be careful about accepting cookies on websites to prevent being tracked as you explore the internet.

 

 

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