Government urges people in Cheshire to #ThinkRandom to protect themselves from identity fraud Date published: 26th October 2016 7.23am

Only 38% of people in the North West following Government’s latest password advice.

The latest government statistics from Ipsos MORI, show that only 38% of people in the North West are following Government’s latest advice to use strong passwords made up of three random words.* It is according to National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ, one the most important actions people can take to protect themselves from cybercrime.

Cybercrime is a growing national issue, according to ONS figures an estimated 2 million cybercrime offences were committed last year.** A weak password can allow hackers to use email to gain access to all personal accounts, leaving individuals vulnerable to identity theft or fraud.

The Government’s cyber security campaign, Cyber Aware, is urging people and businesses in Cheshire to #ThinkRandom when it comes to creating strong passwords.

A spokesperson from the National Cyber Security Centre said, “Our research shows that the best way to make a password memorable and strong is to use three random words. It doesn't matter what inspires you - from watching sport to going out for a bite to eat, thinking random is the best way to keep yourself secure online. Your most important accounts are your email, social media and online banking accounts, so it’s important to use strong, separate passwords for each of these”.

With 25% of people in The North West saying they have shared their passwords with other people, Cyber Aware is also reminding people to keep their passwords secret.

Security Minister, Ben Wallace said “Tackling cybercrime not only requires a concerted response from law enforcement and Government but also vigilance from members of the public. While the Government will invest £1.9 billion in cyber security over the next years, we can all make a difference and protect ourselves from cyber crime by taking some very simple steps, such as using three random words to create a strong password”.

Lynn Farrar, Chair of Neighbourhood Watch said, “It’s increasingly important to protect yourself against cybercrime. We are all at risk and we're keen to encourage as many people as possible to #ThinkRandom and use strong passwords made up of three random words. It’s such an easy way to protect yourself, your family and your community, against hackers who are looking to steal your identity and commit cybercrimes".

Detective Superintendent Jason Hudson from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, covering Cheshire said “In this day and age it’s increasingly important that we all protect ourselves against cybercrime. We are all at risk from online criminals but by taking some really simple steps, starting with using a secure password we can protect ourselves against hackers who are looking to steal identities and commit cybercrimes.

Traditionally, the ultimate strong password was considered to be long with a multitude of symbols, numbers and capital letters. Although this makes for quite a secure a password, they’re harder to remember. This means people either choose weak passwords instead or they compromise them by writing them down or storing them on their phone. The easiest way to create a strong, memorable password is to use three random words.

I want to encourage as many people as possible to #ThinkRandom and use strong passwords made with three random words. It’s such an easy way to protect yourself, your family and friends, and I’d ask that you share this with them.”

The Cyber Aware campaign (formerly Cyber Streetwise) is funded by the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) and was launched in 2014 with the objective of providing individuals and small businesses with the knowledge to take control of their cyber security and help protect themselves from cyber criminals.

Cybercrime is a serious threat to the UK and the Government is taking action to increase public awareness of the risk. The Government will invest £1.9 billion to significantly transform the UK’s cyber security. NCSP will support the aims of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy over the next five years and reflects the importance the Government places on robust cyber security for the UK. The NCSC, which began its first day of operations on Monday 3 October, incorporates CESG, CERT-UK, the Centre for Cyber Assessment (CCA) and cyber-related aspects of the Centre for Protecting National Infrastructure (CPNI).In addition to providing guidance, the NCSC will actively protect the UK from a range of cyber threats and will coordinate responses to cyber security incidents.

To find out more visit cyberaware.gov.uk/passwords