Cybercrime will generally refer to criminal activity that targets or uses a computer, computer network, or networked device. As the cyberspace grows exponentially, cybercrime has kept pace(Cyber-crime, deterrent steps against it). More and more cyber security incidents are reported each day and hence the need to do more to deter these crimes.
All these cybercrime incidents are broadly classified into three major categories:
- Cybercrime against individuals – these exploit the human traits of naivety and greed. Examples include credit card fraud, child pornography, identity theft, harassment and defamation, privacy violations, email spoofing and fraud, cyber extortion, and password sniffing.
- Cybercrime against property – mostly perpetrated against intellectual property and installed systems. Notable crimes include intellectual property theft/piracy, cyber vandalism, malware distribution, financial and corporate data theft data diddling, web-jacking, ransomware, cyber-squatting, crypto-jacking, and cyber trespassing.
- Cybercrime against government/society/organizations – constitutes the use of cyberspace to threaten the government or steal critical economic information. Some notable crimes include cyber espionage and spying, denial of service attacks (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, malware attacks, network intrusions, and cyber-terrorism.
In wide-ranging incidences, the big motivation for hackers or other cybercriminals is financial reward. So, how can you protect your computer or network or private data from the imminent threat of cyber-attacks?
- Keep your operating system and other software up-to-date to get the most recent security patches.
- Install anti-virus software and update it regularly for the utmost protection.
- Use strong passwords – a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols – to protect private data.
- Desist from opening attachments in spam emails or from unknown entities.
- Avoid clicking on links in spam emails, suspicious URLs, or opening untrusted websites.
- Never give out personal data via phone or email. Always establish who you are speaking to or corresponding with before giving out personal information.
- Manage social media settings to avoid leaking personal data to the public.
- Back up data regularly to minimize the loss/damage in case of a data breach or cyber-attack.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing public Wi-Fi networks at hotels or airports to prevent identity theft or loss of personal data.
- Talk to your children about internet usage and speaking out if they encounter online bullying, stalking, or harassment.
- Keep abreast of incidents of security breaches and change passwords if a website or merchant you have an account on is affected.
- For entrepreneurs/business owners, develop clear cyber security policies and procedures for employees and incident response and management plans. Undertake continuous training of employees on these policies and steps to take if a security breach occurs.
Always stay on the alert since you can become a victim by letting down your guard. Keep your guard high and know what to do if the worst happens.