Cybercrime is a constant, ongoing threat that can happen at any time of your life. In 2019, more than $3.5 billion from all countries got lost from cybercrimes. Everyone can become a cybercrime victim, from big businesses and employees to simple cafes and students.
Cybercrime is a crime committed through an electronic device to threaten a person’s personal info. Hackers will use your information to get your finances or take control of your business. Without knowing how to protect yourself from these threats, all your data may get lost.
Knowing how to take precautions and increase your online security prevents cybercrime. The first step is to educate yourself about the different types and ways to protect yourself. Read on to learn about the essentials for cybercrime prevention.
Types of Cybercrime
Cybercriminals find a way to steal personal info, exploit individuals, and disrupt computers. Cybercrime takes form in many types, depending on method and the device. Here are some of the most common types of cybercrime.
This type of cybercrime needs a vulnerability in your device so they can take control. It can come in the form of coded bugs in downloaded software. Exploit kits are tools that criminals can get online to use against anyone with a computer.
Online scams are usually in the form of spam emails with promises for offers and rewards in cash. They come with enticing offers that seem to be “too good to be true.” When you click the offer, malware can find its way to compromise your information.
A botnet is a network from compromised computers controlled by remote hackers. The hackers will send spam or other attacks through the botnets. It will act as malware to perform malicious tasks from external control.
This cybercrime makes an online service unavailable to take down the network. It will overwhelm the website with plenty of traffic from various sources. DDoS attacks use Botnets to deposit malware on your computer to make it easier for hackers to get into your system.
This type of cybercrime involves cybercriminals distributing and sharing inappropriate content. The content can range from sexual activity to intense violent videos of criminal activity. It could also be materials advocating terrorism or child exploitation.
Identity theft is one of the scariest since your whole identity can get stolen. Cybercriminals can steal your confidential info, insurances, and funds. They can use the account in your name to get government benefits and withdraw from banks.
When you receive online harassment messages and emails from someone, it’s called cyberstalking. The cyberstalkers will use social media, search engines, and websites to intimidate you. This type of cybercrime happens with someone who knows you well enough to make you concerned for your safety.
This type of cybercrime involves attackers sending email attachments or URLs to users. They contain malware and virus that help the hackers access your accounts. You may get tricked by emails asking you to update your billing info or passwords.
If you have a customer service agent asking for your info by email or phone, it may be social engineering. Hackers will pose as agents to get your password, bank info, or company details. Once they get your info, they may sell the information or make accounts in your name.
Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) are the least threatening cybercrime. Hackers uninstall your necessary apps on your computers, such as pre-downloaded apps and search engines. They can also install adware and spyware to get your activity on your computer.
Ways to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime
The best way to avoid all types of cybercrime is to increase your online security. Avoid cybercrimes by avoiding anything that will cause security breaches. Below are ways you can do to improve your cybersecurity to keep your files and info safe.
Keep Your Operating Systems Updated
Old operating systems and software may pose a threat to your computer. Avoiding updates can lead to hackers easily slipping through your security systems. Software updates are essential since they have needed patches and fixes for the security holes.
It’s best for both your operating system and apps to keep them on auto-update to avoid missing out on new fixes. The updates are sure to improve your user experience with better and safer security. The exploits of older versions make you vulnerable to malware and virus.
Start Using Strong and Unique Passwords
Hackers can find their way into many secured websites using a user’s weak and guessable password. Those weak passwords will put your info and finances at risk. It’s best to create a more complex password rather than “123456” or “password.”
Go for at least eight characters with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Try not to make your password related to you to avoid friends from checking your account. You can also use a password manager to help you create, assign, and store strong passwords.
Be Wary of What You Open or Download
Cybercrime typically involves someone sending and opening suspicious links or websites. Instead of opening anything from emails or pop-ups, you should contact the company itself. Emails from friends and family may also infect and pass around to everyone else.
Always check the email domain to ensure that it’s coming from a trustworthy sender. Consider downloading an anti-virus to check if the contents of an email or link are safe. Don’t open something that is asking for personal info, passwords, or back information.
Log Off From Your Computer Every Time
Leaving your computer on all day may raise the risk of getting potential hackers. It also ensures that other people borrowing your computer won’t look at your important files. Avoid leaving your computer on for too long since it can be a victim of random logins.
Avoid Sharing Personal Information
Avoid sharing personal passwords or financial information with your friends and family. Others may access your site, change the password and own your account. It can also be a risk when your loved ones log in with their computer that may have a virus.
If their device has malware, your information gets compromised by hackers. Change your password now if you have friends and family who constantly check your accounts. It can be especially dangerous if it’s an account shared by multiple people.
Enable the Multi-Factor Authentication
Most websites require users to turn on multi-factor authentication to add extra online security. This is when the website sends a separate code to an app, phone number, or email to confirm your log in. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to get into your accounts.
If hackers enter your account, you will immediately get a notification to log in. Cybercriminals will have to steal both your password and device to get your info. It’s also good to have multi-factor authentication for your credit card and bank accounts.
Encrypt And Backup Your Important Data
If you have plenty of important files and data on your computer, it’s time to encrypt all of them. Encrypting your files makes hackers end up with gibberish rather than your information. You can either download software or change the system settings to encrypt your data.
You should also have an extra backup for all the essential files in case you needed to delete them. Try saving your files through external or cloud services If you chose to save your files in external storage, avoid plugging them into public devices.
Stay Away from Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi, where everyone can see your device connected, is not a safe place to connect for your info. Hackers can position themselves to use the Wi-Fi as a connection point to reach your device. They can also distribute malware through the unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you can’t help but use public Wi-Fi. The VPN will encrypt the traffic going through your browser. It makes it harder for hackers to check the origin of the traffic so they won’t spy on you.
Oversee Your Social Media Settings
It’s best to keep all your personal and private info locked down or limited from the public. Social engineering cybercriminals will take advantage of your essential info. They can use your posts as a way to guess your passwords or answer security questions.
The more you post about yourself on social media, the more you are at risk. Your stories also reveal your current life and place, making it riskier of other dangers. Avoid posting your whole life on the internet to avoid cybercrime and increase online security.
Keep Yourself Safe From Cybercrime
Make it a habit to apply these ways to protect yourself against all types of cybercrime. Consider downloading some software that can add security to your passwords and accounts. Getting a cloud service will surely protect your essential data and files.
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