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Cybercrime: What It Is and How To Stay Safe

Posted by Nuris Rodriguez on June 29, 2022
Nuris Rodriguez
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The development of new technology has changed the ways information is disseminated and accessed. It has allowed individuals to access a variety of information within minutes. Although, with this growing use and dependence on technology the tactics used in cybercrime have evolved to effectively infiltrate these ever-changing systems. Maintaining the knowledge and tools needed to counteract these cybercrime attempts has become paramount. Any user that is dependent on technological gadgets and software can be at risk of cybercrime. In this post, we will discuss what exactly is cybercrime and how to stay safe. 

What is cybercrime, and why does it matter?

Cybercrime is any illegal activity that utilizes computers or the internet [1]. Cybercrime can be organized, professional, and conducted through global electronic networks [2]. Cybercriminals often initiate detailed plans that can cost governments, businesses, and individuals billions of dollars. It is estimated that losses to businesses and institutions in the United States due to cybercrime are as high as 67 billion USD [2]. To combat these possible financial losses it is important to be aware of some of the different types of cybercrimes.Cybercrime how to stay safe

What are some types of cybercrimes?

1. Malware 
  • This method uses malicious software that can disable, harm, or allow cybercriminals unauthorized access to computer systems or other devices connected to the internet. Some examples are viruses and spyware.
2. Phishing 
  • This method uses fraudulent emails or text messages that are made to resemble those from reputable companies. It is used to steal sensitive data such as passwords to gain access to accounts.
3. Ransomware
  • In this method, cybercriminals will lock a user out of their files as a way to demand payment.
4. Social Engineering
  • This method uses human contact to trick system users into sharing sensitive information. They can accomplish this by building trust with the user and having enough of the user's personal information for their attack. 

How to prevent cybercrime and stay safe online

Implementation of proper cyber security practices assists agencies in preventing cyber criminals from using one of their many cybercrime methods to access, destroy, alter, and extort computer systems. Although, these technologies and processes are in place to defend computer systems and combat cybercrime it is essential users understand what they can do to further reduce their risk of attack. Some helpful tips are listed below. 

  1. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) 
    This authentication method requires the user to use two or more verification factors to gain access to online accounts or applications [3]. MFA helps enhance an organization's security because the user has to provide more than just their user name and password. MFA can be a pin, password, badge, smartphone, fingerprint, or voice recognition.
  2. Use Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
    A VPN connects to a private network, encrypts data, and helps keep privacy online
  3. A VPN connects to a private network, encrypts data, and helps keep privacy online.
  4. Apply Software Updates Immediately. This ensures any security vulnerabilities are fixed.
  5. Don’t download anything from unknown sources.
  6. Check for website legitimacy before entering any personal information.
  7. Use unique and strong passwords, change them frequently, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. 

Having knowledge of cybercrime and what are some of the types of cybercrimes gives organizations and individuals the power to better equip themselves against possible cybercrime attacks. Tactics used to prevent cybercrime can range from investing in reputable software to making simple security changes and decisions at no cost to users. With these tips, you should be able to reduce your risk of falling victim to cybercrime by identifying and combating some of the types of cybercrime listed in this post. Share this information with others so they too know how to prevent cybercrime. 

How to report a cybercrime? 

File a report with the Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3) as soon as possible by visiting ic3.gov

Learn more about Cyber Security

Topics: Cyber Crime, Cybersecurity, Internet Investigation, Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics

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