The world of cybercrime is growing day by day, and it’s something that every computer user needs to be aware of. Individuals and businesses alike have been targeted, and it’s thought that 1 in 10 UK citizens have been victims of cybercrime. Cybercrime is prevalent, and the criminals behind it use their skills to steal thousands of dollars each and every day. Attacking everything from small business to major corporations, from innocent individuals to schools, from the private sector to government agencies, cybercrime can have a devastating and lasting impact.
Ronald K. Noble, founder of RKN Global, notes that there are so many different types of cybercrime because crime is ultimately about opportunity. The wider and more variegated the online world becomes, the more crevices and entry points there are that criminals will try to find and exploit.
While most people know about viruses and ransomware, there are many others lurking in the background, waiting to strike. Let’s take a look at some other types of cybercrime:
Keylogging is the recording of a computer’s activity and the keys that are pressed by software designed for that purpose. Traditionally used by IT organizations, the software can be used for good, helping come up with solutions to computer issues. Unfortunately, this type of software can also be used by criminals to steal personal information.
Once criminals have access to your computer via keylogging software, they can take your bank log-in details, your credit card information, and other log-in details.
If you think you have been a victim of keylogging, you need to tell the police and your bank right away. You should also inform your internet service provider, as it may be able to trace the attack, or simply work harder to prevent it from happening again.
How to protect yourself from keylogging
The mere thought of someone knowing your log-in information may make you feel very uncomfortable. The good news is that you can take steps to help protect yourself from this nasty crime.
1 – Always ensure your anti-virus software is up to date. Update your anti-virus whenever you are prompted to.
2 – Make sure your firewall is turned on. Consider using the highest level of protection it will give you.
3 – Always be aware of what you are downloading. Ensure you know that what you’re downloading is from a trustworthy source. Don’t be tempted to download anything that may not be authentic. Trust your instincts and look elsewhere if you are in any doubt.
4 – Don’t click on any links or emails that you don’t recognize. This is how scammers and cyber criminals work. Don’t open emails that offer you amazing discounts, and don’t under any circumstances click on the links contained in those emails.
Online store scams
Many of us like to shop online. The added convenience and the often lower cost compared to shopping in “brick and mortar” stores are very appealing. Every new trend, unfortunately, invites criminals to look for opportunities, and online shopping is no exception. It was thought that in 2015 alone each shopper from the United States spent an average of $1,800 online. Multiplied by millions of shoppers, this amounts to big business which is very attractive to criminals. Many fake online stores look very much like the real thing, but sometimes there are differences that a savvy shopper should pay heed to.
How to spot a fake online store
Many fake online stores look pretty authentic, but knowing how to spot them could mean the difference between falling victim and getting what you actually paid for. Often, fake “stores” often ask you to pay for the contents of your cart using a wire transfer, a money order, or even a pre-loaded money card. As a result it is unlikely that you will ever get your money back. The best way for you to pay for goods that you’ve ordered online is through PayPal or using your credit card, as your purchases will be protected.
The phrase ‘If it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ is worth paying attention to, especially regarding products that you usually see advertised online. For example, you may come across a well-known brand of jeans that’s sold at a quarter of the regular price, or you may find that some skin-care lotion is advertised as providing “life-changing results”. The fact of the matter is that no matter what you buy, the price will usually reflect the quality of the product. If the product is remarkably cheap compared to similar products, this should raise a red flag. Don’t be tempted to risk buying something just because the price is low. Spend your money elsewhere and pay using PayPal or a credit card. You will be less likely to regret your purchase.
RKN Global’s founder, Ronald Noble has seen through his years of experience that while it is not completely possible to prevent crime, it is possible to make oneself less of a target for criminals. Being circumspect in any commercial transaction, especially with strangers or online, can go a long way to helping you avoid becoming a victim of online scams.
Denial of service attacks
You may have heard about some well-known websites that have come under attack using a technique known as a Denial of Service. This type of attack works to stop users from accessing a resource. A Denial of Service works by overwhelming a website’s server, which means that when people try to get access to the website in question, they simply cannot reach it. This disrupts the business and function of the legitimate company. Cyber criminals flood the website by simply sending a lot more traffic to it than the site originally accounted for. So if for example, the site programmers expected 2,000 visitors a day, if they were to get 5,000, visitors would not be able to access it.
If you are a victim of a denial of service
If your website has fallen prey to cyber criminals, there are some steps you can take to resolve this issue. Get in touch with your internet service provider or hosting provider. After you’ve contacted your ISP or hosting provider, the next step is for you to save your logs, reports and a time line of events. These actions can help minimize the harm, but they could also help you to make a case against your attackers. You may want to consider speaking to a professional to help protect your website against future attacks.
Domain name scams
If you regularly need to buy domain names, you will need to be on the lookout for domain name scams. Fraudsters can and often do offer domain names to people, stating that another person is thinking of buying it too. In this case, the scammer will ask you to pay a relatively high fee so that you can purchase the domain name. The trouble with handing over a higher sum of cash is that there is often no third party involved, and you are essentially being lured into paying the higher price based on false pretenses. If you’re being pressurized to buy a domain name for a larger sum of money, take a step back and think:
- Am I willing to pay extra for this domain name?
- Do I have proof there’s a third party involved?
- Is there another domain name I could use?
- Did I receive a renewal notice when I wasn’t expecting one?
If after taking a step back, you’re still unsure, simply walk away from the purchase. There are many different domain names out there, and you can always let your customers know in advance that the name is about to change. Legitimate sellers will not pressure you to buy their domain name, they will simply put it up for sale and hope that it sells.
Ronald Noble, RKN Global’s founder, emphasizes that this list of different types of cybercrime is not exhaustive. The future will undoubtedly bring new variations on these schemes, as well as completely new scams that are designed to victimize the unaware. It is therefore crucial to be smart and circumspect. Whenever you use your computer, laptop, tablet or phone, please make sure you stay alert. Think about what you’re downloading and where you’re downloading it from. Do not click on any suspicious links, or advertisements that look too good to be true. Lastly, don’t assume that because you may not have fallen victim to cybercrime before, that you don’t need to be on the lookout. Criminals are using more and more sophisticated ways to steal our personal information, disrupt websites, or steal our hard-earned money.
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