Cybercrime has become just as viable for criminals as traditional forms of crime. In fact, because cybercrime can be carried out anonymously, it may be an even safer avenue for criminals than traditional theft. The World Wide Web has brought about many changes to traditional life, most of which are wonderful. We can now shop without leaving the home, work from home, and even gather medical advice or get a prescription online from quick online doctors. These benefits far outweigh the negatives, but that doesn’t mean one should ignore the fact that cyber criminals are aware of the opportunities that the internet affords them. Visit us gatheronline.com.
Cost to the public
The Wall Street Journal estimates that cybercrime costs about $100 billion annually. The article speaks about the crime in the sense that it affects business and government. However the crime really affects us all. Apart from being susceptible on an individual level, businesses pass the costs onto consumers and taxpayers are the revenue source for the U.S. Government ($ = US). Cybercrime is the up and coming form of breaking the law, in part because the resources and laws haven’t caught up with the rate of crime. It is a highly lucrative manner of theft because it’s been safer from prosecution and keeps getting easier for criminals to commit. Now, the laws are catching up, but they still are far from catching and punishing the majority of offenders, because of the ever evolving nature of cybercrime itself. This means that cybercrime is both a new and established form of theft, and as such it makes it very difficult for the police and other law enforcers to do enough to stop it.
So what is cybercrime? Cybercrime is any form on crime conducted using the internet or other technological devices such are wireless networks, computers, smart phones and tablets. Most everyone uses at least one of those items, and possibly many others, some not even listed. This means that if you are reading this article right now, you are a potential victim of cybercrime. Not everyone will be affected, but that is a numbers game the well informed are not looking to bet on. Here are some tips for how to avoid cybercrime.
Protect your devices. Cybercrimes are all technologically based so one needs to have the defenses for the technology properly in place. Assign passwords to devices and change them regularly. Install and correctly use firewalls as well as anti-spyware and anti-malware software. Remember that just because you use an Apple product or other technology you aren’t automatically safe. Yes, there are less viruses that target Apple, but you don’t want your identity stolen because you just assumed you were safe. Remember that computers many times save passwords because we access sites such as bank or credit card websites to pay bills or check balances often. Even if your online security is armed to the teeth, a stolen device could spell financial disaster.
In that same vein, clear out the stored passwords your computer holds and password protect financial documents. Simply opening an infected email could be enough for a cybercriminal to install a Trojan program and scoop up all the saved passwords. Even if it is to email, it is best to simply commit these to memory. Old passwords can give clues to new passwords.
Be mindful about where you connect. Open Wi-Fi hotspots could be hosted by a criminal looking to steal the information of everyone in the coffee shop, and no one would be the wiser until a purchase is embarrassingly declined at the register. It turns out that anyone can host a Wi-Fi hotspot with enough mobile bandwidth. With the mobile wireless cards that are gaining in technological advances, it would be easy as pie. All a criminal has to do is name the network with the name of the location or something similar and many people will think of it as a legitimate connection. Remember – you may know this, but do your children and friends? People often lend their devices to people whom they trust, and those people may also unknowingly give a hacker access to your personal information.
Be mindful of pop-ups as well as internet “bad neighborhoods”. People may not intend to end up at an adult site, but then find themselves travelling further into unknown territory on the web. Many links and sites can be misleading and take you to places on the internet you’d probably rather not visit. Hacker sites and other mischievous places could lead the less internet savvy person to get a virus from a malicious page. Once again, if other people are using your devices this could set you up for further trouble.
Credit monitoring should be the first and last item on the list of how to prevent online identity theft. This is because credit monitoring will alert the user to any account activity that is suspicious. Regular credit monitoring services can usually be set up with email alerts to the user with any changes in credit status. Make sure the service you choose has this option. This could lead to you knowing as soon as possible that a line of credit was opened in your name that you know you didn’t apply for. Cybercriminals are out to steal your identity, so think of credit monitoring as your financial firewall against their attacks.
Finally, remember that these days most of us have a home network. One device in this network getting compromised could lead to a security breach in the home that affects all devices and those of anyone else who may connect to the network. The further the malware that steals credit card numbers spreads, the more damage could be done to you and those you love. Check your wireless router this is a source that without proper security can be hacked and is often neglected. Many people never bother to change the preset codes, this is something that should be considered.
The internet and technology shouldn’t make us fearful, it is simply time to have the same safe practices we would remember for use when travelling to a new area. Hopefully you’ve learned something about cybercrimes and steps to prevent and control them, and will share this with other people who might benefit from this information.…