Be it the online or physical world, criminals always take advantage of tools to execute their malicious attempts. The Internet in itself is the biggest tool of this trade that lets scammers and online attackers shield themselves behind a layer of anonymity while disrupting the rest of the world. Moreover, because of the lower risk and greater reward, there has been a significant uptick in the cybercrime landscape.
The 44.2 million consumers compromised by data hacks in the year 2004 has surged to 190 million in 2015. What’s next? Per a study conducted by Juniper Research in 2015, the estimated cost of cybercrime could shockingly reach up to 2.1 trillion by the year 2019. Hard to believe, but that’s true!
No matter the motive and extent of crime executed online, the consequences can be devastating for the victim, be it an individual, a company, a group or the government. Have a look:
• Identity Theft
According to ITAC, around 15 million Americans lost their online identities in the year 2012. One of the most common techniques used for Identity theft is phishing emails. Sending fraudulent email messages purporting to come from a legitimate source, say a bank, and asking customers to share their confidential information is typically how it happens.
Surprisingly, using someone else's identity for personal gain could be easily done through an app, Zeus, an extremely hacker-friendly malicious software used for infecting users’ software.
• Monetary Losses
Amongst most of the cyber-crimes committed, the major goal is to rip off money. According to the FBI, there were 2,453 complaints in 2015, costing victims more than $24 million dollars.
• Wasted Time
A victim of cybercrime has to deal with it and work on alternatives to handle losses. More specifically, if it’s an organization, then the Information security staff has to dedicate quite a bit of time to handling data security breaches rather than working on something productive and creative.
Circulation and usage of pirated digital assets is a cybercrime that hugely impacts the entertainment, music, and software industries. Revulytics Intelligence Data 2016 shows some eye-opening statistics about global software piracy:
- Globally, 2 out of 5 copies of software in distribution is unpaid.
- The commercial value of unlicensed software is $52.2 billion.
Amidst all the security challenges and questions in front of us, stopping cybercrime is a priority. Here are some preventive measures that are really useful for online users:
- Choose strong passwords and use different passwords for different accounts. Do not share your passwords with anyone.
- Keep reliable and secure backups of all your crucial data and keep it updated. Use encryption for your sensitive files and store in a secure location.
- Avoid being scammed by unknown links or files. Check the source of a message that asks for your personal information such as user login, password and avoid sharing such information over the internet.
- For businesses, it is crucial to form a strong, well-defined, and up-to-date security policy and educate all their employees about security on an ongoing basis.
- Considering the risks of cyber-attacks, it is well-advised for businesses of all size to invest in securing their digital assets and networks.
- Having antivirus protection with real-time scanning capabilities helps in detecting malware from the first strike. Install a reliable internet security and PC security software to protect your machines and networks from malicious attacks.
A computer and a network, a brilliant mind, and a criminal motive - this is all that takes for a cybercrime to happen. But you can make the job tough for a cybercriminal by arming yourself with the aforementioned preventive measures.
About the Author
Kanika Sharma works as a content curator at REVE Antivirus. For the past 3 years, she has been writing for various cyber technology blogs. Being an engineering graduate, her background allows her to connect with cutting edge technologies and relate them with real world scenarios. She likes to explore hills in her free time.