What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device.
Most, but not all, cybercrime is committed by cybercriminals or hackers who want to make money. Cybercrime is carried out by individuals or organizations.
Some cybercriminals are organized, use advanced techniques and are highly technically skilled. Others are novice hackers.
Rarely, cybercrime aims to damage computers for reasons other than profit. These could be political or personal.
Cybercrime,is also called computer crime, the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing, or violating privacy. Cybercrime, especially through the internet, has grown in importance as the computer has become central to commerce, entertainment, and government.
Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network. While most cybercrimes are carried out in order to generate profit for the cybercriminals, some cybercrimes are carried out against computers or devices directly to damage or disable them, while others use computers or networks to spread malware illegal information, images or other materials. Some cybercrimes do both — i.e., target computers to infect them with a computer virus, which is then spread to other machines and, sometimes, entire networks.
Cyber Crime Techniques
There are a number of techniques that cyber criminals leverage to access personal and private networks Some of the most common include:
- Botnet – a strategically developed network of bots which crawl the backend of the web to spread malware with very little detection.
- Zombie Computer – a computer which is deliberately hacked by cyber criminals in order to gain access to and/or attack a private network.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – with a DDoS attack, cyber criminals are not necessarily seeking to access data, but rather are hoping to shut down a network via an overload of junk data. An example of a DDoS attack occurred on Friday, October 21, 2016, when cyber criminals shut down a number of highly utilized websites, including Twitter, Spotify, and Amazon.
- Metamorphic Malware – one of the more advanced techniques, metamorphic malware, repeatedly adjusts its code, making it extremely difficult to detect by even the most advanced anti-virus software. Experts predict that by the end of 2017, there will be an emergence of malware that can infiltrate networks, steal information and cover up their activities. These forms of malware will make it difficult for government agencies and businesses to establish the extent to which data has been tampered with, as well as prevent law enforcement from pursuing and prosecuting the offenders.
WHO ARE THE CYBER CRIMINALS?
Cybercriminals are individuals or teams of people who use technology to commit malicious activities on digital systems or networks with the intention of stealing sensitive company information or personal data, and generating profit.
Cybercriminals are known to access the cybercriminal underground markets found in the deep web to trade malicious goods and services, such as hacking tools and stolen data. Cybercriminal underground markets are known to specialize in certain products or services.
Laws related to cybercrime continue to evolve across various countries worldwide. Law enforcement agencies are also continually challenged when it comes to finding, arresting, charging, and proving cybercrimes.
Cybercriminals, Hackers, and Threat Actors
Hacking does not necessarily count as a cybercrime; as such, not all hackers are cybercriminals. Cybercriminals hack and infiltrate computer systems with malicious intent, while hackers only seek to find new and innovative ways to use a system, be it for good or bad.
Cybercriminals also differ greatly from threat actors in various ways, the first of which is intent. Threat actors are individuals who conduct targeted attacks, which actively pursue and compromise a target entity’s infrastructure. Cybercriminals are unlikely to focus on a single entity, but conduct operations on broad masses of victims defined only by similar platform types, online behavior, or programs used. Secondly, they differ in the way that they conduct their operations. Threat actors follow a six-step process, which includes researching targets and moving laterally inside a network. Cybercriminals, on the other hand, are unlikely to follow defined steps to get what they want from their victims.
TYPES OF CYBER CRIMES
Here are some specific examples of the different types of cybercrime:
- Email and internet fraud.
- Identity fraud (where personal information is stolen and used).
- Theft of financial or card payment data.
- Theft and sale of corporate data.
- Cyberextortion (demanding money to prevent a threatened attack).
- Ransomware attacks (a type of cyberextortion).
- Cryptojacking (where hackers mine cryptocurrency using resources they do not own).
- Cyberespionage (where hackers access government or company data).
Examples of cybercrime
So, what exactly counts as cybercrime? And are there any well-known examples?
In this section, we look at famous examples of different types of cybercrime attack used by cybercriminals. Read on to understand what counts as cybercrime.
A malware attack is where a computer system or network is infected with a computer virus or other type of malware.
A computer compromised by malware could be used by cybercriminals for several purposes. These include stealing confidential data, using the computer to carry out other criminal acts, or causing damage to data.
A famous example of a malware attack is the WannaCry ransomware attack, a global cybercrime committed in May 2017.
Ransomware is a type of malware used to extort money by holding the victim’s data or device to ransom. WannaCry is type of ransomware which targeted a vulnerability in computers running Microsoft Windows.
When the WannaCry ransomware attack hit, 230,000 computers were affected across 150 countries. Users were locked out of their files and sent a message demanding that they pay a BitCoin ransom to regain access.
Worldwide, the WannaCry cybercrime is estimated to have caused $4 billion in financial losses.
A phishing campaign is when spam emails, or other forms of communication, are sent en masse, with the intention of tricking recipients into doing something that undermines their security or the security of the organization they work for.
Phishing campaign messages may contain infected attachments or links to malicious sites. Or they may ask the receiver to respond with confidential information
A famous example of a phishing scam from 2018 was one which took place over the World Cup. According to reports by inc, the World Cup phishing scam involved emails that were sent to football fans.
These spam emails tried to entice fans with fake free trips to Moscow, where the World Cup was being hosted. People who opened and clicked on the links contained in these emails had their personal data stolen.
Another type of phishing campaign is known as spear-phishing. These are targeted phishing campaigns which try to trick specific individuals into jeopardizing the security of the organization they work for.
Unlike mass phishing campaigns, which are very general in style, spear-phishing messages are typically crafted to look like messages from a trusted source. For example, they are made to look like they have come from the CEO or the IT manager. They may not contain any visual clues that they are fake.
Distributed DoS attacks
Distributed DoS attacks (DDoS) are a type of cybercrime attack that cybercriminals use to bring down a system or network. Sometimes connected IoT (internet of things) devices are used to launch DDoS attacks.
A DDoS attack overwhelms a system by using one of the standard communication protocols it uses to spam the system with connection requests.
Cybercriminals who are carrying out cyberextortion may use the threat of a DDoS attack to demand money. Alternatively, a DDoS may be used as a distraction tactic while other type of cybercrime takes place.
A famous example of this type of attack is the2017 DDos attack on the UK National lottery website This brought the lottery’s website and mobile app offline, preventing UK citizens from playing.
How to protect yourself against cybercrime
So, now you understand the threat cybercrime represents, what are the best ways to protect your computer and your personal data? Here are our top tips:
Keep software and operating system updated
Keeping your software and operating system up to date ensures that you benefit from the latest security patches to protect your computer.
Use anti-virus software and keep it updated
Using anti-virus or a comprehensive internet security solution like Kaspersky total security is a smart way to protect your system from attacks.
Anti-virus software allows you to scan, detect and remove threats before they become a problem. Having this protection in place helps to protect your computer and your data from cybercrime, giving you piece of mind.
If you use anti-virus software, make sure you keep it updated to get the best level of protection.
Use strong passwords
Be sure to use strong passwords that people will not guess and do not record them anywhere. Or use a reputable password manager to generate strong passwords randomly to make this easier.
Never open attachments in spam emails
A classic way that computers get infected by malware attacks and other forms of cybercrime is via email attachments in spam emails. Never open an attachment from a sender you do not know.
Do not click on links in spam emails or untrusted websites
Another way people become victims of cybercrime is by clicking on links in spam emails or other messages, or unfamiliar websites. Avoid doing this to stay safe online.
Do not give out personal information unless secure
Never give out personal data over the phone or via email unless you are completely sure the line or email is secure. Make certain that you are speaking to the person you think you are.
Contact companies directly about suspicious requests
If you get asked for data from a company who has called you, hang up. Call them back using the number on their official website to ensure you are speaking to them and not a cybercriminal.
Ideally, use a different phone because cybercriminals can hold the line open. When you think you’ve re-dialed, they can pretend to be from the bank or other organization that you think you’re speaking to.
Be mindful of which website URLs you visit
Keep an eye on the URLs you are clicking on. Do they look legitimate? Avoid clicking on links with unfamiliar or spammy looking URLs.
If your internet security product includes functionality to secure online transactions, ensure it is enabled before carrying out financial transactions online.
Keep an eye on your bank statements
Our tips should help you avoid falling foul of cybercrime. However, if all else fails, spotting that you have become a victim of cybercrime quickly is important.
Keep an eye on your bank statements and query any unfamiliar transactions with the bank. The bank can investigate whether they are fraudulent.
In conclusion,when you take these precautionary steps,your computer,data and information will be preserved.
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