5 Ways Cybercriminals Want to Take Advantage of You

Cybercrime is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. Those with bad intentions are launching cyber-attacks at organizations, governments, and consumers worldwide. At the same time, there is a shortage of skilled technical security experts. The many forms in which criminals operate online are astonishing. These are the 5 most malicious types of cybercrime, most of which affect both individuals and companies.

  1. Hacking: They Want to Access Your Data

Hackers seek to breach defenses and exploit weaknesses in a computer system or network. The worst case scenario is when a hacker accesses systems and leaks or uses private data. This can result in reputational and financial damages. Moreover, in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations can be heavily fined.

Criminal or black hat hackers should not be confused with ethical or white hat hackers. By simulating attacks on systems, ethical hackers help organizations to identify weak spots and determine how they need to improve their security measures. Some criminal hackers turn around to become security professionals. US hacker Kevin Mitnick spent five years in prison for various computer crimes. He learned his lesson, and decided to use his talents for something good.

  1. Online Identity Theft: Come to my Barbecue

Identity theft is much older than the World Wide Web. It is the deliberate use of someone else's identity, usually as a method to commit fraud. Online identity theft is easy to commit and therefore it is unfortunately very common. For example, scammers might set up a fake online profile of a beautiful person and ask for money. Fake accounts are also used to harass political opponents. On Twitter, many counterfeit accounts of US politician Sarah Palin were set up. One of them invited followers to her home for a barbecue, which forced security personnel to rush to her home to intercept unwanted visitors.

  1. Malicious Software Doesn’t Love You

Malware, short for malicious software, refers to a variety of hostile or intrusive software. Some forms of malware include:

  • Computer viruses: this malware replicates itself and infects other systems.
  • Trojan horses: malicious computer program which misleads users of its true intent. Many forms act as a backdoor to the affected computer.
  • Ransomware: software that threatens to publish the victim's data or block access to his computer unless he pays money.
  • Spyware: software that aims to gather information about a person or organization without their knowledge.

The ILOVEYOU computer worm is an infamous example of a virus. It attacked tens of millions of Windows personal computers beginning in May 2000. It started spreading as an email message with the subject line ‘ILOVEYOU’. Naïve as we personal computer users were at the time, we couldn't resist opening it.

  1. Phishing: Please Give Us Your Password

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Phishing is typically carried out by sending fake emails. These often direct users to enter personal information on a fake website.

  1. Cyber Stalking: Anti-social Media

Like identity theft, stalking is an old crime that has evolved and been made easier through the Internet.  Cyber stalkers use false accusations, defamation, slander and libel to harass their victims. Unfortunately, social media has made cyber stalking a piece of cake. A heinous form of cyberstalking is called doxing: spreading personal information about victims online. Online hit lists of abortion providers are a sad example.

The Future of Security

Security in IT is not only becoming more important but also more sophisticated. In light of this, organizations are dedicating roles to the safeguarding of their data and systems. The EXIN Cyber & IT Security program is geared towards providing candidates with the required knowledge.