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Derbyshire residents encouraged to 'Spring Clean' their technology

Posted on 20th April 2015

Derbyshire Constabulary is teaming up with Get Safe Online to encourage people to spring clean their technology this April.

The initiative calls for residents to spring clean their computers, laptops, tablets and phones to help to prevent them from becoming a victim of cybercrime, after research revealed that over half (51%) of Brits have experienced an online crime.

The research also showed how just one in four people put security software on their mobiles or tablets, putting them at a significantly higher risk of spyware, spam, viruses and fraud. This is behind desktop computers and laptops which are protected 50% and 71% of the time.

In addition, more than half (54 per cent) of mobile phone users and around a third (37 per cent) of laptop owners also do not have a password or PIN for their device.

Advice to help kick start Derbyshire residents into spring cleaning their technology, includes:

  • Make sure you install security software on all devices from a reputable supplier;
  • Thousands of new viruses are detected each year, so keep your security software up to date in order to provide the most complete protection;
  • Whether it's a phone, website or a social media account, your first line of defence is a PIN or password so give yours a refresh this spring;
  • Never use the same password and make sure it is hard to guess (don't use your pet's name, your birthday or your favourite football team);
  • Make sure your home Wi-Fi is protected with a strong password that only you and your family know.

If you are disposing of any old computers, laptops, phones or tablets, remember that they still hold a lot of information about you and should be disposed of safely:

  • Copy all of the data you will need in the future on to your new PC or storage device;
  • Fully erase the hard disk so that any personal information is completely deleted. Simply deleting files is not enough to permanently erase them, instead, use a dedicated file deletion program or service, or physically destroy the hard drive to render it unusable;
  • Ensure that any CDs or DVDs which contain your data are removed from the computer and dispose of these with care;
  • Take your old computer equipment to a proper disposal facility, as these will ensure that is dismantled and the components recycled correctly and responsibly.

Detective Inspector Rob King, Head of the Derbyshire Economic Crime Unit said: "With spring upon us, many homeowners may be thinking about freshening up their homes ahead of the warmer weather, however many may overlook spring cleaning their technology.

"With technology becoming more involved in our everyday lives, I would encourage people to look over their mobile phones, laptops and tablets to take extra steps to protect themselves from cyber criminals.

"Taking measures such as setting a strong PIN or password for your device, social media sites and Wi-Fi accounts can really help to make a difference."

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, added: "This spring we want to encourage people to take their spring cleaning a step further and give their technology some attention. Installing security software and keeping it up to date is one of the most basic things we can do to stay safe online and, by not bothering, people are opening themselves up to dangerous scams, spam and viruses."

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.