Cybercrime is an offence that constitutes a computer and a network. A computer may be used in committing an offence or it may be the target by the offenders. These are crimes committed against groups of individuals or an individual with the intention to ruin the character of a victim. Sometimes induce mental or physical damage, or loss, to the individuals indirectly or directly, using current information technology systems, such as the internet. Such crimes have escalated recently with the advancement of technology. They infringe privacy when they seize and reveal secret information about the victim (McGruff, 11). Cybercrime mostly includes spying, financial and identity theft. Financial Losses caused by cybercrime have been estimated to be about 445 billion U.S dollars. Cybercrime has been classified into cyber terrorism, cyber extortion, cyber fraud and cyber bullying. Crimes that aim at computer networks include inserting malware or a malicious code into a system, infiltrating computer viruses into a network, injecting denial-of service (DoS) attacks into a system, using spam or phishing frauds. Trafficking of drugs in the dark web has also been categorized as a cybercrime.
Cybercrime can be against a human being, assets or government. Strict laws have been passed by respective governments to curb this menace. Law agencies and departments have been created to thoroughly investigate these crimes (Ophardt, 1). Harsh penal codes have been put in place which will be acted upon the cyber criminals. Governments and civil societies are carrying out a global awareness campaigns against the cyber criminals and warning the public of the harm which may be caused by cyber criminals. Offenders prefer cybercrime due to the huge income earned within a short period and the minimum risk faced. A criminal would just be situated in a small room but carrying out offences internationally. The increased availability of modern technological equipment which gives access to complex illegal activities on the internet has also been a factor in the escalated cybercrimes. The increased cases of cybercrime have reached a record high. Governments have also been accused of spying whether legally or illegally. Civil societies and human rights groups have greatly criticized the move. Even though measures have been enacted to deal with this menace, cyber criminals seem to be coming with new methods always. So the only action that seems to at least curb this modern disaster is by preventing the cybercrimes. Taking steps in preventing the crimes will reduce the chances of being a victim other than fighting it when you have already been affected (Newman, 69).
Inserting bugs has been a commonly used method by cyber criminals. Criminals steal the passwords for a victims websites, banking accounts or credit cards information. Internet security institutions and media have portrayed a terrifying scene. The fear created can cause worse havoc than the actual disaster. An individual should not stop carrying out online banking and shopping. A certain bug called the heart bleed bug has since affected most networks. The software was known as open secure sockets layer (SSL). It decrypts data such as passwords that are typed or copied into websites. All websites that show addresses starting with https use secure socket layer. It is only a certain type of open SSL websites that are affected. Most financial institutions forbid the use of open SSL and prefer proprietary encryption software, although popular sites such as Yahoo were harmed (Goldsborough, 2).
When such attacks occur, you shouldnt hurry to change the password of a certain website applying the affected form of an open SSL. If the website has not been rectified, it will make you vulnerable and hackers might still acquire the new password and log ins. You should first confirm from the website whether they are secure. You can also carry out tests in the websites using quays or last pass to validate whether they are secure. If a website verifies a user using the dual-factor authentication process, then thats the best to access information from since it reduces the risk of infiltration into your account. Dual-factor authentication authorizes a user to give other information about him or her other than the passwords (Loibl, 119). It might ask you to answer a security identification question such as filling in a code that has been displayed in the screen. It might also ask you to give your parents or guardian name.
In a situation where a credit card is involved, you should keep checking on the credit card bank account and transactions regularly. If you notice strange charges in the transactions, you should liaise with the bank and change passwords frequently. One password should not be used in different sites since if one account is vulnerable then all of the accounts will be infiltrated too. You can get password management software such as keepass to avoid memorizing or recording passwords where someone with ill intention might see. The passwords must secret and safely stored. Use a powerful password (Moore, 1). Adopt a password that comprises of eight characters consisting of numbers, letters and symbols which will be hard to crack. Lowercase and uppercase letters should also be included. If its allowed, twelve characters might be better. A passphrase might be very appropriate. A brief statement that can be easily memorized but challenging to crack, such as, Come h3re 2 [email protected] Password vault software grants users the chance to generate exclusive passwords for websites. Hackers have come up with an algorithm that checks millions of common words in the dictionary and arranges them into a sentence within a very short period. Thus a strong password is required to avoid simple infiltration.
Personal details are appreciated by hackers since they are rigid, such as, names, social security numbers, birthdates, financial and health records which are generally referred to as identity theft. Cyber criminals cane pull down key systems of a corporation offline which will consequently lower productivity and efficiency of an institution leading to big losses. Lines of codes and commands of a software of a company can be stolen thus infringing the patent right of the company. Documents containing business plans and future target of a company can be exposed to a competing company (Newman, 69) As the Internet of things advance, key infrastructures including financial markets industry and energy industry are all correlating and become potential targets by the cyber criminals. Internet of things is filling the void between the physical and virtual world. Thus cybercrimes are expected to exponentially increase (Newman, 69).
Some elite universities are banning the travel of lecturers with their personal computers to countries that are known to have more cybercrimes cases. They are scared of the infection of the computers with malware or spyware which will steal data in the computers and use it for their own gain or use it to leverage the university with blackmail. University systems are mostly used to store critical information or inventions and cyber criminals might use the chance to collect or discharge additional attacks in the university systems (Arlitsch, 4). Study has shown that critical information that has fallen in the hands of criminals is due to mishandling when its outside in the proper place. Hence careful handling of such data should be insisted to avoid such cybercrime.
Inserting skimming software or hardware on computer when its being sold is also one of the methods used by the criminals. Thus when a credit card is swiped, the data in the magnetic stripe of a customer is collected. Some states have resulted into using embedded chips which store encrypted data. Some breaches occur when a programmer tries to locate weakness of a system remotely. Once they notice the vulnerable part, they inject a malware into the system and spreads all over the internet through networks of vulnerable computers call botnets. It can be distributed through vulnerable websites where users who visit the site are infected. Such malware is removed by using a software patch and its vital for users to update their software regularly to avoid future infiltration (Stefan, 2).
Social engineering is also mostly used by acquiring information of a victim that is publicly known (Goldsborough, 2). The victim becomes their target. Employees who have the servers access are the main target. They might also collect information about the target on social media thus its essential to completely log out when you are done or locking down the social media personal profiles whose settings let anyone access the information. The information collected might be used to lure your friends and relatives into disclosing more information about you and it might aid the hackers attain credentials of your organizations system. After they infiltrate into the system they might advance their attacks on the organization.
Phishing is also commonly used in identity theft but it adopts more complex tactics. It assumes a more legal method. An email might be sent to a target stating that its sent from a person or organization that he\she knows. Targeting particular individuals is known as spear phishing. The message might claim that the bank accounts of the target have an issue and it needs to be rectified. If the target is not careful enough, he\she might end up giving the credit cards credentials. In other cases, the target is requested click a link which is in the email causing the installation of an executable program called a remote access tool (RAT) or a malware that collects all the keystrokes, password included on the targets computer. The user may not be aware of the RAT installed whereas the hacker will have the advantage of accessing everything in the victims computer.
Installing and updating anti-malware or anti-virus software will help to identify such malicious codes (Loibl, 119) Enabling machines firewall when using the internet will prevent potential hackers to access your network. A firewall will create a virtual wall. Adopting a virtual private network (VPN) will also improve internet security of your home wireless network. A user should check the website rating service to refrain from accessing dark websites. Users should abstain from downloading free applications unless they are sure that it is secure and it wont affect their computers with a malware (Mann, 211). Desist from clicking and inserting your personal details on the pop-ups that appear on the browser, it could be a phishing scam. Putting up a web-based email address and use it in accessing other websites. This will prevent the user from receiving spam in his or her personal inbox since it will all end up in the other unauthentic email. Purchase parental control for your personal computer to control what your children access online and which will guide them to contact only secure websites. A user should approve whether the wireless network that he or she is using is legitimate. Biometric security accesses such as fingerprints should be widely used since they cant be cracked.
Administrators should come up with rules that address systems and information management which should be strictly adhered to by all employees in an organization. Investing in cybercrime awareness campaigns for the users should be critical by organizations. Skilled and professional employees who will be responsible to manage the network should be hired (Ophardt, 1). Organizations must purchase tools which will enable the employees to create, control and examine the infrastructure of information for them to notice when there is infringement of information. Its cost effective and time efficient to create and retain a secured network and install good ethical codes in the organization than t...
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