The damages from cybercrime is predicted to cost $6 trillion dollars in 2021. This statistical analysis could only mean one thing; we all need to get educated about cybercrimes and how to be protected against cybercrime. In this article, I’d put you through the nature of cybercrime, and how you can defend yourself against cybercrime. Don’t fret, it’s not rocket science, the information in this article is simple and easy to understand.

What is Cybercrime?

You can’t make much progress with protecting yourself from cybercrime if you don’t know what cybercrime is all about. Cyber crime is a criminal activity that targets/uses your computer, your network or your networked device. Keywords to note: Target or Use, this summarizes the two ways cybercriminals employ to perform their attacks. Your computer and networks are vulnerable to cybercrime if you do not protect yourself. Cybercrime isn’t limited to financial fraud, it covers the scope of reasons that are personal or  political to the cyber criminal. Cybercrime takes various forms which may include any of the following:

  • Theft and sale of corporate data.
  • Cyberspionage (hackers access government or company data).
  • Identity fraud (your personal information is stolen and used).
  • Theft of financial or card payment data.
  • Cyberextortion (they threathen you with an attack and demand money to avert the attack).
  • Ransomware attacks (can employ cyberextortion).
  • Email and Internet Fraud.
  • Theft and sale of corporate data.
  • Cryptojacking (cyber criminals mine cryptocurrency using resources they do not own).

Examples of cybercrime include:

  • Virus and Malware are targeted at damaging computer devices or stopping them from working. Malware is also used to steal data from computers.
  • Denial-Of-Service attack: This is when a service provider is unable to provide service to customers because of a cybercrime attack.
  • Unauthorized use of people’s computer or network to perform illegal transactions, store illegal information, and spread malware.
  • Phishing campaign: This is when cybercriminals send messages or emails that trick you into performing an action that undermines your security. A more targeted form of phishing is called spear phishing, it makes you undermine the security of your company or government by sending information that uses the identity of higher authorities in the organization.

Some cybercrime attacks are significant in history. One of them is the Wannacry ransomware that locked out over 230,000 computers in the world from their users/owners. They demanded that a bitcoin payment be made to regain access to their computers, $4 billion dollars was carter away-with from this attack. Another significant cyber attack in history is the phishing campaign scam in 2018. Emails were sent to football fans to entice them into performing some activity to watch the world cup live in Moscow. Everyone who performed this enticing task had their security breached and personal data stolen. In 2017 the UK lottery website was attacked, this Distribution Denial of service attack locked out citizens from partaking in the lottery.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime

You wouldn’t want to wait until you’re a victim of cybercrime before you tighten your loose ends. Here are proven tips to keep you out of risk of cybercrime attacks:

  1. Do not give out personal or confidential information until you have verified the identity and confirmed a secure communication channel. A person’s communication link with you may have been hijacked, if you can’t see or put a call through to the person, don’t exchange important/confidential information.
  2. Always update your software and operating system. As basic as it sounds, these updates contain security patches to prevent cyber attacks.
  3. Recall the phishing technique? To reduce the odds of being a victim, never open attachments in spam emails. Let’s take it a step further, do not open mails from a sender you do not know, and don’t use links contained in a spam mail.
  4. Update your anti-virus service provider and use trusted and comprehensive service providers. Some anti-virus service providers people use are not comprehensive enough or they are not even authentic. If you can afford paying for premium packages to protect your computer and data, please do.
  5. Reinforce your security when using online payment options. Keep tabs on your bank statement or alerts so you can stop any unauthorized transactions before they are completed.
  6. You can encrypt your network with VPN and take extra security measures to keep your network safe from cyberattack. Take cyber attacks more seriously, and ensure you’re abreast of latest breach techniques used by cyber criminals.
  7. Do not talk to anyone who claims he’s calling from your bank or company you’re affiliated with. Drop the call, use a different number to call the official line of the company to be sure you’re not under cyber attack. If you have the time, you’re better off appearing physically to solve whatever issues need your attention.
  8. Pay attention to the passwords you choose to use, ensure they are difficult to decipher and keep them far from the reach of people you don’t trust. Whether you trust them or not, a password isn’t for two people, keep your passwords undisclosed.
  9. Stay clear from websites and URL that do not look legitimate. Watch out for indication from your browser on the inconsistent nature of a website/URL. Sometimes your browser shows a caution. As a rule of thumb never trust a website or URL with your personal information if it uses a http transfer protocol. A HTTP can be intercepted but a HTTPS transfer protocol is protected, websites that use HTTPS usually show a padlock/green access bar to show that you’re secured. You can visit the google transparency site to weigh the safety of a website. You can also look out for websites that have seals, seals shows a secured defense from reputable security companies. Have you accessed a site and you saw Norton security logo, Macafee, or any other reputable cyber security organization? That’s a seal. Whether a site is secure or not, never trust them with your data. You’re better off not taking risks, cyber criminals are finding better ways to breach secured channels where people don’t expect to be at risk of cyber crime.