Cybercrime, also called computer crime, the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities, or violating privacy. Cybercrime, especially through the Internet, has grown in importance as the computer has become central to commerce, entertainment, and government.
Because of the early and widespread adoption of computers and the Internet in the United States, most of the earliest victims and villains of cybercrime were Americans.
Types of Cyber Crime
The US Department of Justice identifies three types of cyber crime in situations where:
- A computer is the target of the attack—for example, a data breach on a corporate network
- A computer is the weapon for an attack—for example, a denial of service attack
- A computer is an accessory to a criminal act—for example, digital identity theft which leads to theft of funds from a bank account
Cyber Crime Attack Vectors
The following vectors are the primary methods cyber criminals use to conduct criminal activity :
- Botnets—a botnet is a network of computers that attackers infected with malware, compromised and connected them to a central command & control center.
- Ransomware and other malware—Ransomware is malware that encrypts data on a local machine and demands a ransom to unlock it. There are hundreds of millions of other types of malware that can cause damage to end-user devices and result in data exfiltration.
- Phishing and other social engineering attacks—phishing involves sending misleading messages via email or other channels, that cause internet users to provide personal information .
- Fraud and identity theft—fraud is the theft of funds by an attacker pretending to be the owner of an account, or using stolen cards or credentials..
- Flood attacks—most modern flood attacks are DDoS attacks, which leverage a botnet to hit a website or organization with massive amounts of fake traffic
- Browser hijacking—attacks like cross site scripting (XSS) can cause malicious code to run in a user’s browser.
How to protect yourself against cybercrime
The best ways to protect your computer and your personal data.
- Keep software and operating system updated : Keeping your software and operating system up to date ensures that you benefit from the latest security patches to protect your computer.
- Use anti-virus software and keep it updated : Using anti-virus or a comprehensive internet security solution like Kaspersky Total Security is a smart way to protect your system from attacks. Anti-virus software allows you to scan, detect and remove threats before they become a problem.
- Use strong passwords : Be sure to use strong passwords that people will not guess and do not record them anywhere. Or use a reputable password manager to generate strong passwords randomly to make this easier.
- Never open attachments in spam emails : A classic way that computers get infected by malware attacks and other forms of cybercrime is via email attachments in spam emails. Never open an attachment from a sender you do not know.
- Be mindful of which website URLs you visit : If your internet security product includes functionality to secure online transactions, ensure it is enabled before carrying out financial transactions online.