The word you will hear most often in connection with online security is “cybercrime”. But how exactly would you define it ?
Well, it refers to illegal activity conducted on the internet for the purposes of financial extortion, data theft, identity theft, and espionage,
The typical cybercriminal is often portrayed as a loner in a hoodie hunched over a keyboard, but real world cybercriminals are much more sophisticated than you might imagine.
Gangs of hackers, companies, and even governments such as North Korea were discovered to be behind the hack that siphoned 81 million USD from Bangladesh’s central bank !!
Cybercrime is estimated to cost upwards of 6 trillion USD by the end of 2020. The complexity and frequency of cyberattacks coupled with mass proliferation of the “internet of things” means we are likely to see cybercrime growing exponentially around the world.
5 examples of Cybercrime
Malware stands for malicious software, and is one of the oldest tricks in the book for carrying out cybercrime. Malware comes in the form of viruses, adware, and other threats that infect computer systems, they interfere with your data, and steal your information.
Malware also includes ransomware, which blocks access to computer systems unless the user pays a ransom.
Hackers like to steal the personal details of individuals and sell them. This provides criminals with the means to steal money by, for instance, opening credit cards in the victim’s name.
Personal data for a single individual can sell for as much as $45, so when you consider large data breaches on big companies, the numbers are just mind boggling.
Phishing or “social engineering” attacks, occur when hackers gain access to computer systems by impersonating someone you would trust.
For example, you might get an email which seems like it’s from a work colleague or an old high school friend. The email might ask you to click on a link or sign up for a new service or to join a referral program. Since you trust the person it pretends to be from, you might do as they suggest.
However, the email address is fake, or even it’s real it has been used without consent . Meanwhile, the link in question or the request that has been made leads you to give up sensitive information. It’s very easy to allow access to all of your personal data if you are not 100% sure of who you are communicating with.
Cryptocurrencies are in much greater use these days and hackers have figured out ways to hijack system resources in order to “mine” cryptocurrency at the expense of unsuspecting users.
Cryptojacking has increased over the years. It’s hard to detect and ends up costing users hard cash. If you use Cryptocurrency you should take advice on how best to keep it safe.
Cyber espionage is a type of cybercrime that doesn’t involve the theft of personal or financial information. It’s more about obtaining secrets, and personal details that might result in blackmail.
Activities conducted during cyber espionage include accessing confidential documents, photos, monitoring emails and text messages, and hacking CCTV cameras.
How can individuals protect themselves from cybercrime?
The best way for individuals to avoid cybercrime is to take great care with emails asking you to navigate to a new website and set up an account, or to click on an unknown link.
Make sure you verify that the sender is someone you know and trust.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you avoid using public wi-fi (such as those found in cafes, airports, and shopping malls) unless you’re guarded with a VPN.
Use a VPN with 256bit encryption, a kill switch and DNS leak protection as a minimum level of security.
Similarly, always keep your device software updated, you are best advised to turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to keep checking.
When it comes to your personal devices, only download apps from the official app stores. Don’t trust third-party sites or uncertified apps, as they can ship with unknown vulnerabilities.
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