Despite the countless convenient advances in technology, the digital age has produced a new breed of lawbreaker: the cyber criminal. Using technology to further their underhanded agendas, cyber criminals are nothing if not resourceful. Familiarizing yourself with the various types of cybercrime can help prevent you from becoming a tech-savvy crook’s next victim.
Since the late ‘90s, the practice of breaking into private networks and modifying their software without permission, or “hacking,”has become increasingly prevalent. Both home computers and corporate mainframes are prime targets for hackers, who thrive on acquiring sensitive financial information and personal documents for illegal purposes. Having your home computer hacked can compromise your bank account and credit card info. In extreme cases, home computer hacking serves as the precursor to full-on identity theft. Worse yet, businesses targetedby hackers may face complete financial ruin.Skilled hackers pose a prominent threat to businesses of all sizes; thankfully, those who those who earn a degree in cybersecurity are on the front lines, developing ways to protect against cyber criminals.
To keep your computer safe from hackers, make a point of regularly updating your operating system’s firewalls and antivirus programs. Additionally, the FBI recommends turning off computers when they’re not in use in order to limit hackers’ windows of opportunity.
On the Internet where it is sometimes called a spybot or spy software is programming that is put in someone’s computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spy app aims to gather information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer’s consent.
Identity theft, which often goes hand-in-hand with hacking, occurs when cybercriminals take possession of your personal information and use it to gain access to your finances. Determined hackers who manage to find their way into your computer can make off with a plethora of private info, including your bank account ID, social security number, credit card number, tax documents and email passwords. With this information at their disposal, they can make large purchases and bank account withdrawals in your name. In a matter of days, you may be totally cleaned out.
To protect yourself from falling victim to identity theft, there are several simple precautions you can take. For starters, avoid keeping important financial documents on your computer for extended periods of time. If you want to have digital copies of these documents, store them on an external hard disk or USB flash drive. According to Market Watch, people who are particularly worried about having their financial information compromised should regularly monitor their bank account statements and credit card bills for suspicious activity
The rise of social networking has opened the path to an increase in cyberstalking. While social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family members, many leading social networks are prime targets for stalkers and sexual predators. With a few simple mouse clicks, shady characters can gain access to a bevy of their victims’photos and personal information.
Fortunately, keeping yourself safe on social media is a fairly simple undertaking. You can start by setting your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles to “private,” thus ensuring that your friends are the only people who have access to your pictures and posts. As an added precaution, make a point of only accepting friend requests from people you know in real life.
One of the oldest cybercrimes, virus spreading remains a popular activity among online lawbreakers. Certain viruses allow hackers to take control of your computer, while others are designed to sell products by bombarding people with popup ads. As advances in cybersecurity increase, virus makers have found new ways to propagate their creations. While email is still the most common form of delivery, viruses can also come in the form of pop-up ads and video files. Precautions like never opening emails from unknown senders, turning on your browser’s popup blocker and regularly updating your antivirus software can go a long way in protecting your computer from viruses.
With virus makers, cyberstalkers and hackers running free, the Internet can be a dangerous place. By getting a feel for the crimes these crooks engage in, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to keep them far away from your computer and personal information.