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Despite the constant advances being made in the field of digital security, cybercrime remains steadily on the rise. The worldwide web provides cybercriminals with a seemingly endless array of targets and opportunities to carry out their schemes. Website owners and administrators need to be particularly wary of these individuals, since letting their guard down can have swift and devastating consequences. Just as there are many different varieties of cybercriminal, there are numerous forms of cybercrime. Although these crimes range in terms of effectiveness and prevalence, all of them can have serious consequences for victims who are caught unprepared. Below are four common types of cybercrime that every internet user should take active measures against.
- Malicious Software (Malware) Propagation
Malicious software, more commonly known as “malware,” has long been a thorn in the collective side of internet users. Malware comes in a variety of forms and is spread through many different avenues. Common methods of malware propagation include download files, email links and ads that incorporate Flash or Java. Common uses for malware include data theft, keystroke logging and device hijacking. In many cases, malware can be avoided by avoiding suspicious links or installation programs, installing a reliable ad blocker and steering clear of websites that are known malware hotbeds. Furthermore, all website owners should strive to keep their sites free of malicious software, lest their visitor numbers suffer. For information on how to go about this, read an informative SiteLock review.
Phishing entails tricking internet users into performing unwise actions, like clicking on suspicious links, downloading malicious attachments and installing damaging programs. Unsurprisingly, phishing and malware often go hand-in-hand. Enticing people to install malware is the most common goal of phishing, which is why malware developers and phishers tend to work together very closely. The endgame of phishing schemes is usually information theft, as a fair portion of the malware phishers peddle is used to log keystrokes, which can reveal a wealth of sensitive data. As mentioned above, common sense is key when working to avoid this type of scheme. Since phishing links can often be found in emails that bear the names of friends, family members and professional colleagues, keep an eye out for usual spelling, grammar or punctuation when reading emails. In many cases, it’s easy to spot fraudulent emails, even the ones that purport to be from people in your inner circle.
- Device Hijacking
Device hijacking is another common goal of malware developers and phishers. Certain types of malware are designed to take control of devices by altering security settings and limiting internet access. Known as “ransomware,” this malicious software lives up to its name by capturing devices and holding them for ransom. Once ransomware has taken hold, you’re likely to be greeted with advertisements and pop-up messages informing you that your device has contracted a virus that can only be cured with a specific type of software. These messages often contain numbers to call, as well as direct-purchase links for the bogus software being peddled. The endgame is to get your financial information, so if one of your devices ever falls prey to ransomeware, it’s in your best interest to ignore any advice offered in the aforementioned ads.
- Identity Theft
Identity theft is a crime that’s existed for decades, but never has it been more prevalent than in the digital age. As the name implies, identity theft entails criminals gaining access to your personal information and purporting to be you in a wide range of scenarios. There are a number of ways cyber criminals go about mining sensitive information, most notably hacking and keystroke logging. Even if none of your personal devices or online accounts are compromised, cybercriminals can get a hold of your data by hacking sites that have access to your financial information. Once your identity has been stolen, it can take years to clean up the ensuing mess.
Cyber crime is a growing problem that shows no sign of letting up. As digital security experts continue to step up their game, cyber criminals continue to get craftier and expand in number. As such, it’s imperative that every internet user invest in dependable security solutions. In the absence of any sort of protection, countless individuals and websites are the perfect targets for cybercriminals. When working to protect yourself, your devices and any websites you own/operate, reliable security software and common sense precautions can be your greatest allies.