Cybercrime refers to the commission of a crime in which the internet is either an integral part or is used to facilitate its execution. This trend has become widespread in the last 20 years. The effects of cybercrime are often seen as irreversible and those who fall victim. However, there are measures you can take to protect yourself from cybercriminals.
How to stay safe from the most common forms of cybercrime
Below are some precautions that can help keep you safe from the most common forms of cybercrime:
Identity theft is a crime that involves using another person’s personal information to perform illegal activities. This type of cybercrime occurs when your personal details are stolen and used by criminals for financial gains.
Here are the most common forms of identity theft:
- Financial Identity theft: unauthorized use of credit cards, bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc.
- Personal Identity theft: using your personal information for carrying out illegal activities like opening email accounts and buying things online.
- Tax identity theft: using your social security number to file false tax returns.
- Medical identity theft: using your personal information to seek medical services.
- Employment identity theft: stealing your workplace profile information to perform illegal activities.
- Child identity theft: using your child’s information for illegal activities.
- Senior identity theft: stealing senior citizens’ personal information for financial crimes.
How to Avoid Identity Theft
- Check your bank accounts frequently so as to ensure there are no suspicious activities.
- Do not carry your social security card in your wallet.
- Do not share your personal details and photos to unknown parties online unless it’s necessary
- Avoid using the same password for all accounts.
- Create strong passwords that contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, etc.
- Enable two-factor authentication on every account you have.
- Change your passwords often.
- Use antivirus software that includes identity theft protection.
- Monitor your credit score and transactions to detect any potential signs of fraud.
Phishing is one of the most common social engineering schemes used by criminals to get access to your private information like bank account numbers, passwords, etc. The only thing you need to do is click on a link, but it’s enough to put you in trouble. When asked to verify your bank account information online, hackers advise users to click on links that seem most trustworthy. Because most people are not aware of the threats involved in clicking links or opening files sent by unknown senders, they fall victim and lose their money.
How to Protect Yourself from Phishing
To avoid phishing, you have to be careful of the links you’re clicking on, and always double-check if it’s a legitimate message. Also, open your browser, log into your bank account directly instead of clicking on links sent by an unknown sender.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks or encrypts your files and documents and demands money for restoring them to their original form. Although there are free decryption tools available, most victims prefer to pay the ransom because it’s the fastest way out of trouble.
How to Protect Yourself from Ransomware
To avoid ransomware, you have to be very careful about what you’re opening and clicking on via emails or websites. You should never download emails or files from unknown senders and avoid suspicious links and ads, especially when they make you pay for services that are usually free.
Online Harassment, Cyberstalking, and Bullying
Online harassment and bullying account for a large number of cybercrimes and it mostly starts with name-calling or cyberbullying, but gradually turns into online stalking and suicide threats. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 4 children is a victim of cyberbullying. Psychological effects like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. are the major consequences of these crimes.
How to Stay Safe from Online Harassment and Bullying
- If you feel someone is harassing you online, blocking them will help stop the abuse and avoid further harm to your mental health.
- Avoid sharing your personal information with strangers on social media platforms and over the internet.
- Keep your security software updated and use two-factor authentication to protect your accounts.
- Do not respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or nervous, especially when they are sexually explicit. Just delete them.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. do not tolerate harassment of any kind on their websites and you can block a person on these sites to avoid seeing their messages.
Fraud and Scams
Online selling is a promising business venture. However, you should pay attention to scammers and fraudsters who want you to send them money and reveal personal information. Some common online scamming methods:
- Phishing: sending messages pretending to be an official website to ask for your login details or credit card numbers.
- Fake endorsements: the messages look like they’re from satisfied customers but actually want you to buy products and services that could damage your computer or personal information.
- Cryptocurrency fraud: asking you to invest in cryptocurrencies and transfer money to their accounts because they can gain enormous profits.
- Identity Theft: offering jobs requiring you to pay a certain amount of money upfront for training, visa issues, etc.
Tips for Avoiding Online Scams and Fraud
- Use 2-factor authentication to protect your accounts.
- Keep an eye out for people who don’t want to meet you face to face before a transaction.
- Do not disclose personal information without having enough knowledge about the person or company asking for it.
- Do not transfer money to people you don’t know.
- Do not trust messages from people claiming to be customer service representatives if the message asks for your login details or credit card numbers.
Cyber terrorism is defined as intentional acts to create widespread fear by causing confusion, economic damage, casualties, etc. with the use of computers and the internet. These crimes can include launching massive DDoS attacks on websites or services, hijacking vulnerable devices to mine cryptocurrencies, attacking critical infrastructure (power grids), etc.
Tips for Avoiding Cyber Terrorism
- Ensure that your security software, operating system, and other devices are updated to the latest versions.
- Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior around you. If you witness any, report it to law enforcement immediately.
- Avoid using public WiFi networks as they are more vulnerable to attacks like phishing and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
- Back up sensitive data and keep it offline as much as you can.
Cyberwarfare is a form of information warfare conducted in cyberspace, such as through the internet or another computer network against another state or organization. This can be achieved by using cyber espionage to gather intelligence, propaganda to influence public
Cybercrimes are difficult to deal with because they happen over the Internet. It’s also new and not many countries have clear laws on what can be done in these cases, so if you’re experiencing something like this it would probably best talk things through with an attorney before taking action yourself!
Skilled cybercrime attorneys at Amal Khamis Advocates and Legal Consultants in Dubai can advise you about your situation and guide you through the legal process. If you have any queries related to Cybercrimes, contact us today for a consultation!