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In our last article on Cyber Crime, we saw what cybercrime is and how one could take certain basic steps to prevent it from happening to you. Today we will go a bit more in detail and see the types of Cybercrime.
Types of Cybercrime
An attack to commit a Cyber Crime can be called as a Cyber Attack! When it comes to the Internet, you are sure to acquire some malware, if you visit malicious websites without proper protection. At the minimum, you need an antivirus and a firewall. You also need to stay and steer clear of different types of cybercriminals trying to make money at your cost.
Let us have a look at the common types of cybercrime and how to deal with them.
It is important to note that a computer, Internet or computer technology has to be involved, and when the use of any of the following techniques or activities is made to carry out a crime or illegal activity – only then can it be classified as a Cybercrime. The list of course, is not exhaustive – it is only indicative!
Identity theft and fraud is one of the most common types of cybercrime. The term Identity Theft is used, when a person purports to be some other person, with a view to creating a fraud for financial gains. When this is done online on the Internet, its is called Online Identity Theft. The most common source to steal identity information of others, are data breaches affecting government or federal websites. It can be data breaches of private websites too, that contain important information such as – credit card information, address, email ID’s, etc.
Go here to learn how you can prevent Online Identity Thefts and protect yourself
This is one of the detestable malware-based attacks. Ransomware enters your computer network and encrypts your files using public-key encryption, and unlike other malware this encryption key remains on the hacker’s server. Attacked users are then asked to pay huge ransoms to receive this private key.
This post will lay down some ground rules that can help you prevent ransomware.
DDoS attacks are used to make an online service unavailable and bring it down, by bombarding or overwhelming it with traffic from multiple locations and sources. Large networks of infected computers, called Botnets are developed by planting malware on the victim computers. The idea is normally to draw attention to the DDOS attack, and allow the hacker to hack into a system. Extortion and blackmail could be the other motivations.
This post talks of DDoS and protection & prevention methods.
Botnets are networks of compromised computers, controlled by remote attackers in order to perform such illicit tasks as sending spam or attacking other computers. Computer Bots can also be used act like malware and carry out malicious tasks. Then can be used to assemble a network of computers and then compromise them.
There are some Botnet Removal Tools that can help you detect and remove Botnets.
Spam and Phishing
Spamming and phishing are two very common forms of cybercrimes. There is not much you can do to control them. Spam is basically unwanted emails and messages. They use Spambots. Phishing is a method where cyber criminals offer a bait so that you take it and give out the information they want. The bait can be in form of a business proposal, announcement of a lottery to which you never subscribed, and anything that promises you money for nothing or a small favor. There are online loans companies too, making claims that you can get insecure loans irrespective of your location. Doing business with such claims, you are sure to suffer both financially and mentally. Phishing has its variants too – notably among them are Tabnabbing, Tabjacking. and Vishing and Smishing.
Such spamming and phishing attempts are mostly emails sent by random people whom you did not ever hear of. You should stay away from any such offers especially when you feel that the offer is too good. The US Cybercrime Center says – do not get into any kind of agreements that promise something too good to be true. In most cases, they are fake offers aiming to get your information and to get your money directly or indirectly.
Read our article to know what is Phishing and how to detect Phishing attempts.
Social engineering is a method where the cyber criminals make a direct contact with you using emails or phones – mostly the latter. They try to gain your confidence and once they succeed at it, they get the information they need. This information can be about you, your money, your company where you work or anything that can be of interest to the cyber criminals.
It is easy to find out basic information about people from the Internet. Using this information as the base, the cyber criminals try to befriend you and once they succeed, they will disappear, leaving you prone to different financial injuries directly and indirectly. They can sell the information obtained by you or use it to secure things like loans in your name. The latter case is of Identity theft. You should be very careful when dealing with strangers – both on phone and on the Internet.
See our article on Social Engineering Techniques to know how to deal with it.
Malvertising is a method whereby users download malicious code by simply clicking at some advertisement on any website that is infected. In most cases, the websites are innocent. It is the cyber criminals who insert malicious advertisements on the websites without the knowledge of the latter. It is the work of advert companies to check out if an advertisement is malicious but given the number of advertisements they have to deal with, the malverts easily pass off as genuine ads.
In other cases, the cyber criminals show clean ads for a period of time and then replace it with malverts so that the websites and advertisements do not suspect. They display the malverts for a while and remove it from the site after meeting their targets. All this is so fast that the website does not even know they were used as a tool for cybercrime. Malvertising is one of the fastest, increasing types of cybercrime.
Our article on Malvertising and Badware will tell you how you can stay safe.
PUPs, commonly known as Potentially Unwanted Programs are less harmful but more annoying malware. It installs unwanted software in your system including search agents and toolbars. They include spyware, adware, as well as dialers. Bitcoin miner was one of the most commonly noticed PUPs in 2013.
Drive By Downloads too, come close to malvertising. You visit a website and it triggers a download of malicious code to your computer. These computers are then used to aggregate data and to manipulate other computers as well.
The websites may or may not know that they have been compromised. Mostly, the cyber criminals use vulnerable software such as Java and Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight to inject malicious codes as soon as a browser visits the infected website. The user does not even know that there is a download in progress.
You might want to have a look at our article on Drive By Downloads to learn how to protect yourself.
Remote Administration Tools
Remote Administration Tools are used to carry out illegal activities. It can be used to control the computer using shell commands, steal files/data, send location of the computer to a remote controlling device and more.
Read this post to learn more about how you can prevent the illegal use of RATs or Remote Administration Tools.
A vulnerability means some problem in the coding of a software that enables cyber criminals to gain control of your computer. There are ready to use tools (exploit kits) in the Internet market which people can buy and use it against you. These exploit kits are upgraded just like normal software. Only difference is these are illegal. They are available mostly in hacking forums as well as on the Darknet.
Read our article on Exploits and Exploit Kits to know more about them.
Notable among Internet scams are, scams which misuse the Microsoft name and other general tech support scams. Scamsters phone computer users randomly and offer to fix their computer for a fee. Every single day, scores of innocent people are trapped by scam artists into Online Tech Support Scams and forced to shell out hundreds of dollars for non-existent computer problems.
Preventive steps against Cybercrime
Apart from inculcating safe browsing habits, maintain good system hygiene. Avoid leaving Digital Footprints. You must secure your Windows system with a fully updated operating system and installed software, and ensure that you install a good Internet security software to protect your Windows 8.1 computer. Using the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit on Windows is a great way to protect your system against zero-day attacks.
Stay safe … it’s a bad world out there!
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Posted by AnandK@TWC on , in Category Security with Tags Malware, Online safetyAnand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.
Prevention is always better than cure. It is always better to take certain precaution while operating the net. ANUP GIRDHAR, Editor In Chief, Cyber Times advocates that we should follow 5 main key points : Precaution, Prevention, Protection, Preservation and Perseverance for online security.
Steps to prevent cyber crime:-
1. Never disclose your personal information publicly on websites. This is as good as disclosing your identity to strangers in public place.
2. Always avoid sending any photograph online particularly to strangers and chat friends as there have been incidents of misuse of the photographs.
3. Never enter your credit card number to any site that is not secured, to prevent its misuse.
4. Always keep a watch on the sites that your children are accessing to prevent any kind of harassment or depravation in children
5. Always use latest and updated Antivirus software to guard against virus attacks.
6. To prevent loss of data due to virus attacks, always keep back up of your data.
7. It is advisable to use a security program that gives control over the cookies and send information back to the site, as leaving the cookies unguarded might prove fatal.
8. Use of firewalls proves beneficial.
9. Website owners should watch traffic and check any irregularity on the site. Putting host-based intrusion detection devices on servers will serve the purpose.
Capacity of human mind is profound. It is not possible to eliminate cyber crime from the cyber space. It is quite possible to check them. History is the witness that no legislation has succeeded in totally eliminating crime from the globe. The only possible step is to make people aware of their rights and duties and to guard ourselves so that crime has no effect on us.