Cybercrime, also called computer crime, is the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual the property, stealing identities or violating privacy.
Cybercriminals buy and sell Malware online (generally on the dark web) while also trading in services that test how robust a virus is, business intelligence dashboards to track malware deployment, and tech support (that’s right — crooks can contact a criminal helpline to troubleshoot their illegal hacking server or other malfeasance!).
The professionalization and proliferation of cybercrime add up to countless costs in damages every year, impacting individuals, businesses, and even governments. Experts estimate that cybercrime damages will reach $6 trillion dollars by 2021, making it one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises.
As the internet of things (IoT) evolves and smart devices become more popular, cybercriminals benefit from a much broader attack surface — increased opportunities to penetrate security measures, gain unauthorized access, and commit crimes.
Types of cybercrimes
They are various types of cybercrimes, but we would look into 6 types which are;
1. Phishing Scams: Phishing is a practice of cybercriminal or hacker attempting to obtain sensitive or personal information from a computer user. This process is usually accomplished through phishing websites which are designed to mimic a legitimate website in hopes that the unsuspecting computer user will enter several bits of personal information such as their banking passwords, home address or even social security number. To avoid phishing scams, we recommend using a phishing filter feature on your web browser so that it can actively scan websites that you visit to check if they have been identified as a phishing website.
2. Identity Theft Scams: Cyber crooks who may have gained access to your credit card or banking account information may use that information to make purchases in your name. Identity theft has been a major issue even before the conception of the Internet but as you may already know, the virtual world has made it much easier for criminals to utilize and steal your identity. One of the easiest and least expensive things to do to protect your identity is to closely monitor your accounts. If you notice suspicious activity, you should report it to the proper authorities immediately.
3. Online Harassment: Harassment online is usually related to your social lifestyle and if you choose to use a popular social network such as Facebook or Twitter. Online harassment can consist of threats sent through email, instant message or through a social network message/post. Usually, it is simple to report these threats to the social network you’re being harassed on.
5. Cyberstalking: Cyberstalkers will go to great lengths to try to monitor a victim’s online activity. This may include injecting a person’s computer with malware that is able to log computer activity. Cyberstalkers are also known to continually harass their potential victims. Cyberstalking cases should also be reported to authorities, just like online harassment cases. Cyberstalkers may contact a victim’s colleagues, friends and other online contacts in an effort to slander them or extract personal information from them.
5. Invasion of Privacy: The invasion of privacy is basically the act of someone attempting to intrude on a person’s personal life. This includes hacking into a person’s computer, reading their emails or monitoring online activities. Many of these specific crimes are punishable under the law. If you ever suspect someone invading your privacy, you can simply contact the police and file a report. Local authorities can handle these situations most times without seeking a specific online law enforcement organization.
6. Cyberextortion: Cyber extortion is just what it sounds like — a digital version of the nightmare that is extortion. One of the most common forms is ransomware when hackers infect your computer with malware that encrypts all your files until you pay them a ransom to unlock them. Cyberextortion can also refer to blackmailing victims using their personal info, photos, and video; or threatening businesses using methods like botnet-driven DDoS attacks.
Ways to prevent cybercrime
Cybercrime is not something that is meant to be left unattended with, however, the government have found ways to tackle the issue of cybercrime.
1. Keep everything up to date.
2. Use a strong, unique password.
3. Enable multifactor authentication.
4. Encrypt and back up your most important files.
5. Be cautious about using public WiFi.