The internet provides us with easy access to many activities. In fact, the successful completion of our daily tasks and operations depends on our use of the internet. However, using the internet also exposes us and our organizations to becoming potential victims of a variety of dangerous online crimes, including financial data theft and information leaks.
In this article, we will cover the definition of cybercrime and the different types of cyberattacks, offer useful tips on how to protect yourself from falling victim to such crimes, discuss the importance of cyber security, and briefly review the main types of cyber security that help protect your computer’s security.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime refers to any criminal activity accomplished through using a network, technological devices, and the internet. Common motives behind committing cybercrimes include monetary gains, personal gains, and creating chaos within an organization or an individual’s life.
What are the common types of cyber attacks?
Cyber theft is a type of cybercrime that involves an individual stealing money, personal information, financial data, or intellectual property through infiltrating another person or company’s system. Fraudulent crimes such as identity theft and embezzlement can also fall under the cyber theft crimes umbrella.
Cyberbullying refers to instances of bullying an individual online. Acts of cyberbullying include any threat to a person’s safety, coercing a person to say or perform an action, and displays of hate or bias towards someone or a group of people.
While children tend to fall victim to cyberbullying more often, adults are not necessarily immune. According to a study, 40% of teenagers surveyed stated they had faced online harassment, and 24% of adults between ages 26–35 reported having experienced cyberbullying.
Malware is a word used to refer to any program or software designed to infiltrate or damage a device. Viruses are an example of programs that fall under the malware umbrella. Viruses perform a variety of harmful actions once they land in a device. They may destroy files, log your keystrokes, reformat your hard drive, or manipulate your files.
Phishing occurs when cybercriminals pose as an organization to trick victims into sharing their sensitive information. Oftentimes, cybercriminals successfully achieve their phishing goals by using scare tactics such as informing the victim that their bank account or personal device is under attack.
Cyber extortion is a form of online blackmailing. In these cases, cybercriminals attack or threaten to attack the victim and demand some form of compensation or response to stop their threats.
Ransomware is a type of cyber extortion which uses malware to reach its end goal. This malware threatens to publish the victim’s data or prevent the victim from accessing her data until the cybercriminal receives a specified amount of money.
Cryptojacking refers to when hackers use other people’s computing power to mine cryptocurrencies without consent. Cryptojacking differs from cybercrimes that use malware to infect a device since cryptojackers do not wish to pursue a victim’s data. Instead, cryptojackers use the processing power of their victim’s device.
Despite seeming less harmless than other cybercrimes, individuals should not take cryptojacking lightly because falling victim to it can significantly slow one’s device and make it vulnerable to other cyber attacks.
When hackers attack the network of a public or private entity to access classified data, sensitive information, or intellectual properties, they commit cyber spying. Cybercriminals may use the classified data they find for other ends, such as blackmail, extortion, public humiliation of an individual or organization, and monetary gains.
Spyware refers to software that cybercriminals use to monitor their victim’s activities and record their personal information. Often, a victim accidentally downloads spyware onto their device, which is how they unknowingly provide access to their data to a cybercriminal. Depending on the type of spyware used, cybercriminals can access a victim’s credit card numbers, passwords, web cam, and microphone.
Adware is the software you may accidentally install onto your computer while downloading another application. Developers of adware programs gain monetary benefits from their activities on people’s computers every time someone views or clicks on an advertisement window.
While some adware programs are legal and harmless, others are intrusive because of the type and frequency of the advertisements they show. Some adware programs are illegal in many countries because they carry spyware, viruses, and other malicious software.
Botnets are networks of malware-infected computers. Cybercriminals infect and take control of these computers to perform tasks online without the user’s permission to carry out fraudulent acts without being tracked. Their actions may include sending spam emails and carrying out targeted breaches into a company’s assets, financial data, research data, and other valuable information.
Some cybercriminals use dating sites, chat rooms, and dating applications to masquerade as potential partners and seduce people to gain access to their data.
Hacking commonly refers to any unauthorized access to a computer system. When a hacker breaks into the computers and networks of any company or individual without permission, they can gain access to sensitive business information or personal and private data without authorization.
Nonetheless, not all hackers are criminals. Some hackers often called “white hat” hackers, are hired by software companies to find flaws and holes in their security systems. These hackers hack their way through a company’s network to find existing flaws in their client’s system and offer them solutions to those flaws.
Sometimes, cybercriminals or “black hat” hackers might want to go clean and turn away from crime. In these cases, working as a security consultant for the companies they used to torment is one of the best options. These have more knowledge and experience about the infiltration of networks than most computer security professionals.
Latest cyber security threats
Cyber attacks and data breaches happen very often. If you follow news on tech outlets, you may have come across such reports, which indicate that cyber criminals constantly develop and implement new cyber threats.
In late 2019, The Australian Cyber Security Centre alerted national companies about Emotet malware, a dangerous worldwide cyber threat. Emotet was designed to cross uncomplicated passwords, steal information, and load other malware into systems. This malware was a financial trojan with various features and capabilities, which had affected governmental entities, public companies, and private organizations around the globe since 2014.
Cyber security threats are not exclusive to tech companies; they have infiltrated the video game industry too. A good example is the data breach that happened to Capcom, a Japanese video game development company. In November 2020, four years’ worth of Capcom’s plans leaked online after cybercriminals had hacked their servers. Not only did the hack impact the company’s 2021 releases, but it also created worry amongst its customers about the safety of their private information.
The above information demonstrates that cybercrimes can happen to all sorts of companies in any industry. Cybercrime is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and analysis suggests that cybercrime damages will exceed a staggering $6 trillion globally by 2021. Statistics like this show just how important it is for companies to protect themselves just as much as individuals should.
What should I do to protect myself?
There are two main steps for preventing cyber attacks.
Firstly, you must take precautionary measures to protect your device(s) and information. Second, you must take advantage of suitable cyber security implementations.
By staying cautious and using the best internet security and other advantageous cyber security software applications, everyone can easily stay safe and secure from cyber-attacks. Let’s find more about the details of each step.
9 cyber safety tips
- Use strong passwords.
Choose a password that does not include your name, phone number, or date of birth, or any other piece of information commonly shared with others. The password you create should have at least 12 characters and include a mix of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols, making it harder to crack.
Also, avoid using the same password for all your accounts. Otherwise, a person who hacks one of your accounts may find a way to hack all of them.
- Avoid suspicious URLs.
Always pay attention to the URLs you click on and check whether they are legitimate by running the address through a search engine. Fake URLs are often similar to legitimate website addresses, so pay extra attention. If a URL looks unfamiliar or suspicious, do not click on it.
Before making transactions or adding your personal data on a website, make sure the site is legitimate by looking through consumer reviews. If your device comes with internet security software that includes functionality to secure online transactions, do not forget to enable it before carrying out any financial transactions.
- Never download or open files from spam emails or unknown senders.
Email spoofing, which is the act of using an email address very similar to a known person or entity’s to trick victims into sharing their information, is a very common method for cybercriminals to launch a cyber attack.
Always check the senders’ email addresses before opening their email or downloading any attachments. Even if the sender’s name looks familiar, always double-check the email address to see if it matches the email address you have of that person.
- Never click on links in spam emails or untrusted websites.
Like email attachments, you should always avoid clicking on links in spam emails, messages from unknown people, or even websites. Most of the links provided from suspicious websites contain malware and can threaten your online safety.
- Avoid connecting untrusted hardware to your device.
Many people, unknowingly or knowingly, carry malware and other harmful software on hardware like hard drives and USB flashes. Connecting hardware carrying harmful software will almost inevitably lead to your device becoming infected.
Exercise special care when connecting unknown hardware to your device, especially if your device is connected to an entire network of other devices since harmful software can spread easily throughout a network. Make sure to use an antivirus program to scan any hardware you connect to your device before opening its files.
- Never share your personal information unless you are sure it is necessary and secure to do so.
Refrain from sharing your personal information regardless of the medium you use to communicate unless doing so is necessary. Only share your personal information if you trust the person you share it with, believe it is required to share the information and can rely on the security of the platform through which you are sharing your information.
- Keep your software apps and operating systems updated.
Manufacturers of electronic devices and software companies frequently update their software programs to fix the holes and flaws in their security systems. So, keeping your applications and operating systems up to date ensures that you benefit from the most recent security patches to protect your information.
- Do not easily trust someone who claims to work for a reputable public or private entity.
Whenever you receive an email from a reputable company, check their address. The email is likely a scam rather than an official email. This principle holds for banks and governmental organizations as well.
Even when someone gives you an unexpected call and claims to be from a reputable entity, you should stay safe by hanging up. Instead, call the number on the entity’s official website to make sure you speak directly with one of its representatives, not a cybercriminal.
- Beware of public Wi-Fi risks.
Public Wi-Fi, although beneficial in that it’s free, lacks security and can leave you vulnerable to many types of cybercrimes. So, make sure your software is up-to-date and avoid using password-protected websites that require your personal information to log in to stay clear of potential cyber attacks.
Another secure way is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs create a secure network in which all data sent over a Wi-Fi connection is encrypted. VPNs come in different forms, but the most common include software, application, and as a feature of an antivirus.
Cyber security solutions
Preventing typical human errors can remove a high percentage of cybercrime possibilities. Nevertheless, having a fully secured computer or network requires the assistance of proper software, and this is a discussion wherein the benefits of cyber security solutions best showcase themselves.
What does cyber security mean? Cyber security, sometimes referred to as IT security or computer security, is the body of technologies and processes designed to protect computer systems, networks, and devices from the dangers of cybercrimes. Moreover, cyber security solutions prevent damage to hardware, software, electronic data, or any disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.
The importance of cyber security solutions stems from their ability to provide comprehensive protection to users. If you wish to keep your networks and devices safe from unauthorized access or malicious attacks, then consider the different types of cyber security to determine the best one for your needs.
The first step in securing your device(s) is installing proper antivirus software on them.
Antivirus programs scan data and incoming files to detect unsafe software and remove any threats before they cause an issue. These programs identify and eliminate known viruses, worms, and malware based on what is available in their extensive database.
- Internet security
Internet security programs establish measures against attacks over the internet to ensure the security of devices and networks. These programs prevent attacks targeted at browsers, networks, operating systems, and other applications.
Internet security software uses many methods to protect the transfer of data, including encryption and from-the-ground-up engineering. The most common and significant ones include firewalls, access controls, data loss prevention (DLP), distributed denial-of-service prevention, and email security.
Firewalls act as filters that allow or deny access to a network, thus protecting the devices connected to it. Firewalls keep harmful files away and prevent malicious codes from being embedded into networks. Apart from that, they also screen and block dangerous traffic.
Moreover, firewalls create checkpoints between an internal private network and the public internet. They limit network exposure by hiding your private network system and information from the public internet.
- Endpoint security
Endpoint security refers to a software approach for ensuring that all the endpoint devices, such as computers, tablets, scanners, and others, connected to a network remain safe. Such devices serve as access points to an enterprise network since they offer attack paths and points of entry that malicious files can exploit. Therefore, endpoint security aims to secure every endpoint to avoid potential threats.
Moreover, network administrators can use endpoint security solutions to restrict the use of sensitive data and access to certain websites to maintain compliance with the policies and standards of the organization.
These features make endpoint security solutions particularly well-suited for small and large organizations.
Newcom’s cyber security protection solutions
For individual users, Newcom provides various antivirus and internet security programs. These software programs include ESET NOD32 Antivirus and Norton 360 for Gamers. By using antivirus and internet security solutions, you can significantly decrease the chances of cyberattacks.
Companies and organizations can benefit from our endpoint security solutions provided by ESET, which caters its software to the demands of renowned entities such as Honda, Canon, Allianz Suisse, and Universidade de Vigo. Our offerings for corporate clients include ESET Protect Complete and Safetica DLP Solutions.
Please check out our product page for more information regarding Newcom’s cyber security solutions.