The advancements in technology have led the entire world to be accessible. Anything and everything you want is now at the click of a button. Whether it is things as simple as mathematic calculation or talking to people in other parts of the world, something that was once considered a dream. The rate at which the dependence on technology is increasing is tremendous and opens various doors for both opportunities and hazards. While it has made life easier, the convenience comes at a cost. The entire cyber world is unimaginably vulnerable and is extremely susceptible to possible crimes. For some it’s a space to connect socially with their friends and family for another it can become the space they lost millions of dollars to a hacker.
What is Cyber Crime?
Despite the dangers, the cyber system entails its benefits are so vast that all you can do is try to contain and avoid possible threats to your system. Before we move on to the measures you can take and how to secure yourself it is imperative that you first understand what Cyber Crime is. Cyber Crime is an attack through the computer using illegal ways like invading privacy or threatening personal security. Clear from the term Cyber attached to it the fraud committed involves a computer and internet medium. It harms the virtual existence of individuals, organizations, or the government. It shows how fragile every information you put out there is despite the expansions within the virtual world.
Common Cyber Crime
One of the most common types of Cyber Crimes is phishing scams. This is when scammers get personal information out of you through seemingly legit messages, emails, or even calls. In these cases, they are usually looking for social security numbers or bank account details. They are so professionally trained that it is difficult for a common man to differentiate between a scam and an actual authentic call. They may pretend to be from a credible company or representative of a bank to gain your trust. They try different methods of persuasion that will make you give them important information. They either act like something is wrong with your existing accounts, ask for some sort of confirmation, or try to entice
you through discount vouchers or promotions that may convince you.
You will recall that many times when you want to download a file or some attachment some kind of popup interrupts the process. These popups are often hackers trying to gain control of your devices. Once the hacker gets a hold of our devices he has access to all data and software. He can cause all sorts of chaos and can send all our confidential files to himself.
Denial of Service
DOS attacks are when intended users are unable to access a certain website because of the heavy traffic on it often causing it to crash. The attacker’s purpose is to keep the users from using the website by flooding it. When this is done by multiple computers it gets difficult to identify the source and thereby solving the problem. Unless the traffic is controlled users cannot resume their access. The entire process consumes a lot of time and money.
Cross-site scripting is when the operator of the website is attacked. The website itself remains unharmed but the attackers find a way to reach the user when they visit the website. A code is inserted by the attacker that helps them access the consumer’s browser. Even though the owner is not the target but their credibility gets damaged since it is their website that puts visitors at risk.
Cyber-Stalking is anonymous online harassment where the stalker continues to repeatedly try to intimidate the person being attacked through countless online messages, and emails. In most cases, mediums used are sites that protect the harasser’s true identity.
As vast as the online world is there is a lot of content out there that is dark and therefore illegal. Mostly, there are international laws that prohibit both the usage and creation of sites that contain pornography, especially that is an animal or child-related, online prostitution services, and online drug stores. There is also an entire market where copyrighted music, movies, videos, software, and books are being sold and bought.
As the name suggests Exploit Kits are softwares or more commonly known as ‘kits’ that exploit the users by gaining control of their devices. Like any other kit it is pre-made for hackers and attackers and can be bought of the dark web. However, they can not hack any device without a loop hole. These kits require the software being used to have some kind of malfunction or problem that makes the device susceptible to attack.
In addition to being a crime itself, it is more of the medium through which other cyber crimes will be committed. ‘Bot’ suggests computers and the entire term simply means a network of computers that are collectively used to download malicious software into user accounts and gain access through unfair means. Other above-mentioned crimes such as online scamming and cyberstalking can also be done through botnets.
The best way to protect yourself against cybercrime is to be aware. You should always be aware of what websites you are using, what links you are clicking and what personal information are you sharing. You should know what possible cybercrimes exist and how to judge all related situations so that you do not become a victim of it. You cannot save yourself if you do not educate yourself. Ensure that all the computers or laptops you use have an updated anti-virus system.
Be careful when you browse websites especially if they are new and previously unknown to you. Never open any illegal websites even through VPN as they are secured from users for a reason. Do not try to go around a system that has been built for your benefit. However, in other cases using VPN is recommended. It protects you and does not let any third party gain access to your activities. You should use it if you are not using known and secured WiFi systems. Often Wi-Fi systems prompt the user that they will have a certain level of access to your personal information that we ignore either in haste, ignorance, or complete unawareness.
Always set passwords that are strong, long, contain symbols and numbers, and cannot be easily guessed. People are often tempted to reuse the same passwords for multiple accounts. This is highly unadvisable because it makes you more vulnerable to attacks. Many sites now make you set security questions, ensure that they are not something basic that can be easily guessed. Avail the option of setting a two-factor authentication system whenever you can, What this essentially does it give you a higher level of security. If anyone else tries to access the account you are immediately alerted. Technology has advanced such that it will show you when, where, and from what device was your account opened. This way you can immediately change your passwords and lock the person out. Activate your email account’s anti-spam feature. When your email carrier suggests that the email you received is un-secure do not question that unless you can vouch for its reliability a hundred percent.
Try to be extra cautious during online or telephonic conversations with strangers. If possible try to avoid that completely. Unless you can be sure of the authenticity it is better to confirm the source than to fall into traps. In such cases do not hesitate to ask multiple questions to gain confirmation about the situation. We tend to make a lot of online purchases without thinking about possible implications. There are a lot of shady websites out there scamming customers. Do not try to buy products when you are unsure about how credible the shop is. Saving a little bit of money is not worth the possible risk this entails. Many times we download music or pictures from sites that have numerous popup ads and some that even prompt viruses that we tend to ignore. Do not take this lightly. When your download is stopped with prompts suggesting danger it is best to close the tab immediately.
Cyber safety is no longer a choice. It is not an optional protective measure. It is something that needs to be taken very seriously daily. There is no space for a lax attitude. There is a large number of individuals and companies that are a victim of cyber crime. All monetary price paid to protect yourself from it is worth the safety it will guarantee to us. We are responsible for our actions and have a major role to play. While no crime can be justified through a third party act but you must ensure that your carelessness has no role to play in falling prey to attackers. Cyber Crime is a bigger issue than you may realize. Every online step you take needs to be with extreme care, diligence, and awareness.
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