The word “cybercrime” applies to criminal activities such as financial extortion, data theft, identity theft, espionage, and more that take place over the internet.
Cybercrime is characterized as any criminal activity requiring or involving using a computer, wifi network, or a networked device. Most, but not all, cybercrime is perpetrated by profit-driven cybercriminals or hackers. Individuals or organizations may commit cybercrime.
Some cybercriminals are well-organized, employ sophisticated techniques, and possess a high degree of technological competence. Others are beginners to hacking. Cybercrime is rarely used to hurt computers for purposes other than benefits. These may be either political or personal in nature.
Cybercrime is divided into three groups by the US Department of Justice (DOJ):
- For example, to obtain network access, crimes in which the computing device is the target;
- crimes involving the use of a computer as a weapon, such as launching a denial-of-service (DoS) attack; and
- A device is used as an accessory to a crime, such as storing unlawfully obtained data on a computer.
The United States is a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, which describes cybercrime as a wide variety of malicious activities, including unauthorized data interception, device interferences that threaten network integrity and functionality, and copyright infringements.
Types of Cybercrime
The following are some basic examples of various forms of cybercrime:
- Email and internet fraud.
- Identity theft is a serious concern (where personal information is stolen and used).
- Theft of financial or credit card records.
- Corporate data Theft and sales.
- Extortion via the internet (demanding money to prevent a threatened attack).
- Ransomware attacks (a type of cyber extortion).
- Cryptojacking (a type of cybercrime where hackers mine different cryptocurrencies using resources they do not own).
- Cyberespionage (where hackers access government or company data).
Cybercriminals may infect computers on the network with viruses and malware to harm or disable them. They might also use malware to erase or steal information. A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is a form of cybercrime that prevents users from accessing a computer or network or prevents a company from delivering a software service to its customers.
Cybercrime includes computers or networks to distribute malware, illegal information, or illegal images known as cybercrime. Cybercriminals occasionally participate in all forms of cybercrime at the same time. They could start by infecting computers with viruses. Then use them to spread malware through a network or to other computers.
A Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is another choice for cybercriminals. This is equivalent to a DoS attack, but cybercriminals carry it out using many compromised computers.
The third form of cybercrime identified by the US Department of Justice is when a device is used as an accessory to a crime. Using a machine to store stolen data is an example of this.
The United States has ratified the European Convention on Cybercrime. The convention casts a large net, and it finds a variety of malicious computer-related crimes to be cybercrime. Consider the following scenario:
- Intercepting or stealing data without authorization.
- Interfering with networks in such a way that a network is put at risk.
- Infringing copyright.
- Illegal gambling.
- Selling illicit items online.
- Soliciting, producing, or possessing child pornography.
How Do You Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime?
So, now that you’ve heard about the risks of cybercrime, what are the safest ways to safeguard your device and personal information? Here are some of our best recommendations:
1. Keep the operating system and software up to date.
Updating your software and operating system means that you can access the most current security updates to secure your computer. Always use updated antivirus software.
Antivirus software checks, identify and eliminates threats until they become a problem. This security helps to protect your device and data from cybercrime, providing you with peace of mind. If you use antivirus software, make sure it’s up to date so you can get the most out of it.
2. Use strong passwords
Use solid passwords that no one can guess, and don’t write them down anywhere. To make it simpler, use a reputable password manager to create strong passwords at random.
3. Don’t Open Spam Email and Attachments
Email attachments in spam emails are common for computers to become infected with malware and other cybercrime types. Never open an attachment from an unknown source.
4. Keep an eye on the URLs of the websites you frequently visit
Keep a close eye on the URLs you’re visiting. Do they appear to be genuine? Avoid clicking on URLs that seem to be unfamiliar or spammy. Before conducting financial transactions online, make sure your internet protection product provides features to protect online transactions.
How Can a Company Protect Itself Against Cybercrime?
The most popular attack vector for businesses is through their employees. Hackers are well aware that workers are the weakest link in the security chain. As a result, an internal cybersecurity strategy, especially employee training on best practices, is critical.
A defense-in-depth approach is a key component of a successful cybersecurity strategy. Two-factor authentication, where possible, a disaster and data recovery plan, successful penetration testing, endpoint protection, daily backups, and updated software are just a few of the protections.
Effects of Cybercrime On Businesses
It’s impossible to quantify the actual cost of cybercrime. In 2018, McAfee published a study on the economic effects of cybercrime, predicting a roughly $600 billion annual expense to the global economy, up from $45 billion in 2014.
Although financial losses from cybercrime can be significant, criminal cyberattacks can also have other devastating implications for companies, including the following:
- Investor sentiment damage following a security breach can lead to a decrease in a company’s valuation.
- Businesses could face increased borrowing costs and difficulties raising additional capital as a result of a cyberattack, in addition to possible share price declines.
- Companies that fail to protect their customers’ data can face fines and penalties if sensitive customer data is lost. Businesses can also face legal action as a result of the data breach.
- Its weakened brand name and credibility compromise customers’ confidence in a company’s ability to keep their financial data security following a cyberattack. Following a cyberattack, companies lose their existing clients and their opportunity to retain new ones.
- Businesses can also face direct costs resulting from a criminal cyberattack, such as higher insurance premiums and the expense of recruiting cybersecurity firms to handle the incident response and remediation, as well as public relations (PR) and other relevant services.
Effects Of Cybercrime On National Defense
Since cybercrime can impact public health and national security, it is one of the Department of Justice’s top priorities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Cyber Division is the agency within the Department of Justice tasked with fighting cybercrime in the United States.
Strengthening the protection and resilience of cyberspace is an essential homeland security priority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and agencies like the US Secret Service (USSS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have special divisions dedicated to fighting cybercrime.
The Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF) of the United States Secret Service investigates cases involving electronic crimes, especially attacks on the nation’s financial and vital infrastructures. The USSS administered the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI) and offers computer forensics instruction to state and local law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors. The FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) cooperate on the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which receives anonymous reports from victims of internet crimes or interested third parties.
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