What is Cyber Crime?
Cyber crime is a term used to describe two closely linked yet distinct types of criminal activity, cyber-dependent crime and cyber-enabled crime.
Cyber-dependent crime or ‘pure’ cyber crime covers offences that can only be committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of information communication technology (ICT). For example, hacking into networks or spreading viruses and malware.
Cyber-enabled crime covers more traditional crimes which have been increased in their scale or reach by the use of computers, computer networks or other forms of ICT. For example, fraud or scams, blackmail and sexual exploitation.
Cyber Crime Attack Methods
Protect yourself online
It can feel overwhelming to have to take precautions online, but the majority of cyber attacks are not targeted. Instead, they are the result of a wide-cast net, and it is far better to take some basic precautions rather than risk your valuable data and potential financial losses.
Make your passwords unique for each account and save them on your browser or a password manager app so you don’t forget them. Use three random words to create each password. For example, bemused-purple-muffins. You can still add in numbers and symbols if needed. For example, 3bemusedpurple!muffins.
Just because an email appears to come from a reputable organisation, it doesn’t mean it is legit. Get into the habit of asking yourself the following: does the sender’s email URL look correct? Does the tone of the message have a sense of urgency? Is it asking you to provide financial or personal information, or to click a link? If so, go onto the organisation’s official website and call them on the number published there to check.
Regularly update the software on your computers, tablets, phones, games consoles, smart fridges… that last one might seem like a joke, but in reality, anything connected to the internet can be affected. The software updates are fixing weaknesses that the manufacturers (and the criminals) have found.
If the worst should happen and you lose access to your files or data, having a back-up means that the criminals don’t win, and you are able to recover. You can wipe your device and reinstall from your back-up.
When you receive a new device, such as an internet router, change the factory set password. Criminals can steal lists of the factory passwords and try them out in an attempt to gain access.
If your social media settings are too weak, cyber criminals can gather information on you and either attempt to imitate you, befriend you (by adopting an appealing persona), or scare you. Make sure your presence is private, and your pages are only available to approved friends.