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Top Cyber Security Tips from Devon and Cornwall Police

23/02/2024 - Category: Guest-Blogs

At a Mid Devon Networking breakfast meeting in Crediton in February 2024, Mick Harrison Shared some important tips to help to protect your business, charity or organisation from cyber crime.

"If you or any of your contacts are involved in running a small to medium sized business, a local charity, a public sector or local community group, and you are concerned about the security of your IT systems or web-site, can I take a moment of your time to point you towards the South West’s Cyber Resilience Centre Website (SWCRC)

Top Tips from Devon & Cornwall Police to help increase Cyber Security

  1. PASSWORDS / 2FA / 2SV.
    Use Strong Passwords (ThreeR@nd0mWord$) made up of at least 12 characters – Don’t use the same password for all your accounts. Where possible activate 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) / Two-Step verification (2SV). This generally involves sending a text to your mobile phone to double check that it is you carrying out a particular transaction. If you have difficulties remembering lots of passwords consider using an on-line ‘password manager’. There are various free and paid for password managers available. These include – KEEPER, NORDPASS, ROBOFORM, BITWARDEN, 1PASSWORD (please have a look at the latest reviews on-line).
    Only grant remote access to your device (computer / mobile phone / tablet), to someone you personally know and thoroughly trust.
    Regularly check the privacy settings on your Social Media accounts and be careful what you post on Social Media. Do you really want everyone to know your house is empty when you are away on holiday?
  4. UPDATES and APPS.
    Always take operating system and software updates as soon as possible. Turn on your Anti-Virus / Firewall and keep them updated. Don’t use old operating systems that are no longer supported. These are particularly vulnerable to attack. Only download Apps from accredited Apps stores and only if you really require the App (again check reviews).
  5. BACK-UPS. 
    Regularly back-up your important data onto a removable hard drive. Consider keeping back-ups off-site, in a fireproof / waterproof safe.
  6. WI-FI.
    Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi and don’t pass sensitive information over public Wi-Fi.
    Ensure all your devices including your mobile phone(s) are password or PIN protected - Keep them ‘locked’ when not in use. Use Fingerprint or facial recognition if available.
    Use a credit card for all your on-line transactions.
    Be wary of ALL incoming messages, including, voice calls, SMS text messages, emails and social media messages from persons you may know. Remember accounts can be hacked and emails, social media addresses and phone numbers can be spoofed. Don’t rely on caller display. If you are concerned about an incoming call, hang up, call the caller back using another phone and the phone number YOU have obtained yourself.
  10. QR CODES. 
    Carefully check QR codes before scanning them. Do they look genuine? Have they been tampered with? Can you do the transaction without using the QR code?
  11. Organisations including financial institutions, HMRC and the Police will never ask for YOUR PIN, YOUR Passwords, YOUR personal / financial details.  NEVER-EVER share those details.
  12. Be Curious. Don’t Rush. Question Everything. Seek Advice.  Never Assume / Never Believe / ALWAYS CONFIRM.  Take Five  
    -   Take Five - To Stop Fraud | To Stop Fraud (

0300 123 2040 - Report fraud and cyber crime. Help, support and advice  Report 24/7 & Web Chat (

Supt Mark Moore who is from Devon and Cornwall Police, heads up the South West’s CRC. They are a not for profit organisation, funded by the Home Office and regional policing. They exist to help South-West based small to medium sized businesses, charities, voluntary groups and public sector organisations, with their Cyber Security.

Cyber Security can feel complicated, expensive, and unmanageable. It can be hard to know where to start, or how to improve resilience. Professional Cyber Security support is often costly and for many, obtaining such assistance can be well beyond their financial means. These regional CRC’s have been set up by Government to help small to medium sized businesses, groups and organisations who find themselves in just this position.

Much of what is on offer to you from the CRC is absolutely free.  I would highly recommend you sign up with them. Should you wish to sign up you can do so here.

I hope you find this information useful.

By all means please come back to me if you have any questions concerning this message.

Lastly, please consider sharing this information with your colleagues, SME’s, charities and voluntary groups in your own local areas.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message.

Cyber Protect Officer
Devon and Cornwall Police

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