Cybercrime refers to any illegal activity that involves a computer, and any other digital device or computer network. This crime comes in any form of a cybersecurity threat. For Instance, any socially engineered attacks, software vulnerability exploits, and network attacks. The common ground is that the attacks occur at vulnerable software and computing systems.
 
However, cybercrime isn’t just restricted to these acts but also includes hacktivist protests, extortion/harassment, money laundering. So, any crime that’s committed through digital means.
Like any crime, some victims are impacted. Here, those victims can be both individuals and companies. Businesses are under threat for direct financial gain, or to quite simply sabotage/disrupt operations. Individuals on the other hand are part of large-scale scams or used to hack into individual devices. Also, they could use them as a platform to perform any further illegal acts.

Trading Convenience For Privacy

We live in a digital world where people have given up their privacy for convenience i.e. we’re sharing more information about ourselves publicly than we ever did before. What once was a society where people would think twice before sharing information about ourselves, has now transformed into a place where the sharing of information is rather commonplace. It’s part of the “new” and more “convenient” way of living and transacting.

Cybercrime Prevention

Let’s outline a few common forms of cybercrime. So that you’re aware of not only what’s out there but also how you can protect yourself from it all. Cybercrime prevention is better than prosecution!

Phishing Scams

Probably one of the most common forms of cybercrime. These refer to any kind of emails that you might get that mimic messages from someone you know or a business that you might’ve interacted with before or just be aware of.
 
These messages try to trick individuals into giving out personal information or clicking on links that end up downloading malware onto their computing systems.
 
It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of such emails go out regularly with thousands of individuals falling prey to it.
 

The Way Out:

Don’t trust your emails. Be very careful about who you share information with over email, and never (ever) click on any such links that you don’t trust 100% or have verified beforehand.

Website Spoofing

The focus here is on deceiving individuals by creating a website that looks quite real but has in fact been set up to gain access to your systems, steal data, or spread malware.
 
Here you will find a seemingly legitimate website with huge branding and an extremely engaging user interface. Where you’d be asked to create your own profiles and share information.
 

What’s interesting is that these usually work in cohesion with phishing scams that will direct you to such websites (to prove legitimacy). Then, end up causing you a wide array of problems.

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The Way Out:

Ignore and delete any links that you might not be anticipating. If a legitimate company is trying to get in touch with you, there are multiple other avenues that they can reach you through. Plus, you always have the option to call the business directly or get in touch with them through trusted, common domains.

Ransomware

A relatively new twist on the age-old crime of extortion. Here, criminals would steal something of great value from you and then demand payment for its safe return.
 
In the case of businesses, it’s usually the encryption of company data that unlocks once the payment has been made. Otherwise, any data is at the risk of loss. With the company also not being able to function until it decrypted.
 

The Way Out:

Always create backups! In separate locations, in multiple locations. Wherever it is, backing up data is key! Make this a regular habit and ensure data protection in a variety of places so that if you’re ever exposed to any such crimes, you always have a way out.

Malware

This is any form of ‘malicious software’ that gains access to or damages a computer. The recovery of this data and your software/computing system is the most annoying thing about this since it can be a highly tedious and time-consuming process.
 
Common types of malware include viruses that spread, damage functionality, and corrupt files, or trojans that have been disguised as legitimate software that creates backdoors that let other malware enter your network.
 

The Way Out:

Practice caution! Whether it’s email attachments or suspicious websites – be very careful around them and make sure you’ve installed a high-quality antivirus program that can keep you safe.

IoT Hacking

Isn’t it great how we can connect multiple accounts on a variety of devices and seamlessly share all our information across so many different platforms?

Well, it might be brilliant for you, but it also makes your data that much susceptible to hacking and exploitation.

The Way Out:

Use passwords to protect all of your devices! Make sure these passwords are unique and if you have to use a random password generator to do that, then sure!

Protection Is Key

At the end of the day, you’ve got to look out for your own self. prepare yourself for any cybercrime attacks by practicing caution and make sure to secure your data in multiple places. Also, by downloading the latest anti-virus software (from trusted sources, obviously).
 
The digital world has obviously opened up a wide range of possibilities for all of us and promises us so much potential. But, just like with everything in life, it is imperative to proceed with caution. To be aware of your surroundings. Do not let the excitement take you over to the point that you share anything and everything with those around you.
 

We don’t mean to scare you by all of this. But, it always helps to know that you’ve done the best you could to protect yourself digitally. This piece offers you help on how to do just that.

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