silicon.com tells you how to protect yourself...Random hackers stealing personal data, such as credit card details, for their own gain is nothing new, but ID theft has now moved on to a far more sophisticated level. A story today on silicon.com (http://www.silicon.com/a54192 ) revealed how Russian organised crime groups are now getting involved and are systematically going about stealing identities from college students in the US. Top security experts have now warned the UK might be their next target. To make sure none of our readers are caught off guard, silicon.com has teamed up with the security gurus to give you advice on how to spot and stop these crooks. Awareness is a key factor in preventing any crime. IT departments must prepare their staff for the worst. And this is not just IT departments at universities, but techies across the whole sector, all over the country must understand the severity of this crime. End user training is the second most important factor. Workers and students can become a welcome addition to the existing defence once they have been told to stay vigilant and report back any unusual instances or suspicious behaviour. Conducting regular audits of critical systems, such as gateway servers, firewalls and routers, could help prevent any technical attacks. As long as the network is adequately protected, hackers can be kept at bay. And finally, IT departments should set standards for some basic security requirements for financial transactions, even at the most cash-strapped universities and firms, and make sure these rules are compulsory rather than voluntary.