Cyber crimes are crimes that occur through a virtual/digital medium. These activities involve targetting or using computers with malicious intentions. Cyber crimes are against individuals or organizations. Cyber criminals attack a computer or network of computers and damages the data and services. Criminals also inject viruses into computers to steal valuable information and even hold it as ransom.
These days, reports of cyber crimes – mainly virus/ransomware attacks, phishing, fraud and identity theft – are widespread and has captured the attention of authorities.
The different kinds of cyber crimes are:
* Unauthorized use of a computer system is known as hacking.
* Hackers are skilled criminals who know how to exploit hardware and software by identifying weaknesses or bugs.
* Some hackers, known as ethical hackers, do so with good intentions. They are known as white hat hackers. They identify weaknesses in computer hardware and software and use their knowledge to uncover any loopholes hackers may find.
* Hackers with malicious intentions are known a black hat hackers. They hack systems in order to steal valuable information, damage systems, or make money by holding data as a hostage. They use their skills to spread harm through illegal means.
Phishing and Fraud Emails:
Phishing is using fake links and emails to extract sensitive data or to install malware on the user’s system. This data is misused as per the criminal’s desires. Phishing scams can be identified by inspecting links, words and contents to look for errors.
Besides phishing, criminals steal people’s identities. They steal personal information from others illegally and then pose as them in different places. This kind of phishing is primarily done for monetary gains.
Criminals can use identity theft for financial gain, avoidance of detection by authorities, and to obtain medical drugs or treatment.
Ransomware blocks users from accessing their own data by encrypting it. It holds data as hostage and releases it only when a ransom has been paid. It can be downloaded when visiting unsecure sites or links.
Combatting and Preventing Cyber Crime:
We can protect ourselves against cyber criminals by:
* Installing antivirus software and conducting regular scans.
* Backing up important data.
* Updating system software regularly as updates fix different bugs.
* Being careful about the sites we visit, links we click, and things we download.
* Using strong passwords (as mentioned earlier), even for the wireless network.
* Not saving personal data on other people’s systems.
* Not using cookies for unknown sites.
* Only using secure sites for transactions.