The evolving Cyber Crime phenomena around us suggests that every single user of any technology should be aware of the threat that Cyber Crime poses. The virtualization of the world, so to speak, is exponentially increasing as new ways of going online are developing every day, no matter the profession. This increase is directly correlated to the harmful potential that Cyber Crime may cause, if efficiently used.
The first step in protecting yourself from anything, is understand what that thing is. With that said, let’s look at categories of Cyber Crime that each one of us faces daily. With a little help from this article, we may realize that perhaps we are already under the effects of Cyber Crimes.
But what are cybercrimes? They are simply crimes that are communicated through a virtual network and computers.
Here are the popular types of cyber crimes as well as the cyber security risks they pose:
- Telecommunications Theft & Piracy
- Circulation and Spread of Offensive Material
- Identity Theft
- Malicious Software
Telecommunications Theft & Piracy
One of the oldest types of cyber crimes that exists since 30 years ago has made room for increased criminal activity in this industry. By penetrating a phone company’s Switchboards or PBX, the hackers have access to dialing circuits with which they can obtain call credit which they can sell to third parties for cheaper.
This has been done by gaining access codes through the company’s personnel as well as through impersonation. It has been estimated that a certain phone company lost over 290 million pounds due to these methods while overall 5% of the industry has been lost to this kind of fraud. Similarly, telecommunications piracy is pirating copyrighted digital codes through reproducing them and selling them at a cheaper price.
Circulation and Spread of Offensive Material
The abundance of information in the virtual world is infinite. There are limitless options as to how cyber crimes can use data of the internet in order to commit crimes. Online data consists of any kind of data that is virtually a part of the internet, and more specifically it includes personal data, pictures, phone records, passwords, etc.
This way, the information is illegally obtained through hacking and then posted or reused for personal or organizational gain. In a case, nude pictures were stolen from a random girl and then used to post explicit comments and material that invited perpetrators to harass the victim.
A major issue for users of online bank transactions and services, through which a criminal can access data of a person’s bank details, and even identity information such as social security numbers. Through this, the criminal siphons money out of the victim’s bank accounts or even creates their own online identity using information which is legitimate and in turn puts the blame on the victim since their ID is being misused. You can read our guide about how to prevent Identity Theft.
Even though more general, malicious software is also used to gain advantages on the above mentioned cyber crimes such as penetration of a machine, theft, etc. Mostly, this software is intended to gain access to your system and steal sensitive information as well as cause irreparable damage to your system.
How to prevent Cyber Crime?
I have covered a whole article on cyber crimes however I will still mention it shortly about the prevention of these crimes. Basic steps to protecting from cyber crime is updating your software regularly, using protection like anti-virus software, using strong passwords. For more advanced users, a known method is to stay anonymous when surfing as well as to stay secure online.
I would highly suggest that if you’re avid reader of cyber security news and articles, then do become familiar with cyber security tools that may help prevent and even cause cyber crimes, although I do hope you will be going for preventing rather than causing.
To conclude, there are numerous ways that cyber crimes can happen but one of the most harmful ways cyber crimes occur are without the users’ knowledge. The type of cyber crime doesn’t really make a difference when there is little information to be found regarding that certain crime and especially when one isn’t situationally aware of how to mitigate such attacks.
With that said, I would like to conclude this article by simply saying that the most valuable and effective tool is knowledge; after all, that is the only tool a cyber-attacker needs.