Internet usage has increased drastically in the last few years, and therefore Internet criminal activities are developing. Most people think that cybercrime is just a criminal activity in which hackers steal the user’s financial information. But that is not the only thing. Cybercrime is constantly evolving with new threats coming up every year.
In this article, we will understand what is cybercrime, the definition of cybercrime, the impact of cybercrime, how it works, etc. Let’s discuss this:
What You Will Learn
Introduction to Cybercrime
Cybercrime is commonly called a computer-oriented criminal activity that either uses or targets a network, computer system, or network device. Most cybercriminals commit cybercrimes to make money by targeting individuals. However, some professional cybercriminals can threaten an organization by damaging or disabling the entire network.
Apart from this, the cybercriminal can also use computers or networks to transfer viruses, malware, pornographic content, illegal information, etc. These activities are usually done to damage computers and their data, for reasons other than just a profit.
Usually, a primary motive of cybercriminals is to generate profit for them. To do this, cybercriminals may commit a variety of profit-driven criminal activities, such as stealing and reselling identities, getting access to financial accounts, misusing credit card to get money or goods, performing email frauds, trafficking in pornography or intellectual property, accessing government data for theft and resale, etc. To be specific, cybercrime can range from security breaches to identity theft.
Cybercrime is a type of crime that involves a computer and a network to carry out illegal activities through digital means. This can be done by individuals or small groups of people with little technical knowledge, or by highly organized global criminal groups with relatively skilled developers and professionals.
Skilled cybercriminals use advanced tools and techniques to hide their identity and location. Additionally, some cybercriminal conducts cybercrime from countries where there are weak or no cybercrime laws. This helps in reducing the chances of detection and prosecution of cybercriminals.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the U.S. has divided cybercrime into the following three categories:
• Crimes in which the computer acts as a weapon, i.e., performing DoS (denial-of-service) attack, etc.
• Crimes in which computer is an accessory to a crime, i.e., storing illegally obtained data into the computer.
• Crimes in which the computing device is the target, i.e., to get access to a computer or network.
These are the crimes that distinguish cybercrimes from traditional crimes. It only states that cybercrime is an attack on information about individuals, enterprises, or governments. These attacks occur on virtual bodies of individuals or enterprises (it is nothing but a set of informational attributes on the Internet).
In addition, the US has signed the European Convention of Cybercrime. Accordingly, anything including the following is considered cybercrime:
• Selling illegal items online.
• Illegal gambling.
• Infringing copyright.
• Illegally intercepting or stealing data.
• Soliciting, producing, or processing child pornography.
• Interfering with systems in a way that compromises a network.
Impact of Cybercrime
It is difficult to accurately assess the actual impact of cybercrime. The impact of cybercrime can be devastating due to the high risk of data loss and financial impact. The effects of cybercrime can be classified into the following three categories:
The impact of cybercrime can be mostly seen on individuals. There can be issues like data breaches, identity theft, or trafficking to malicious sites, etc. with the devices. Due to this, one may see suspicious charges on credit cards and loose access to their financial accounts. Additionally, cybercriminals may misuse data stored on devices for harassment and blackmailing.
Businesses may suffer from sensitive data loss, financial loss, or brand damage, etc. It can directly affect the value of a company, the share price, and can also cause loss of reputation, customers, etc.
If companies fail to protect customer data, they will also have to pay fines and penalties. In addition, a cybercriminal may secretly sell the company’s sensitive data to other companies.
This is a very important offense when accessing government data for misuse. Cybercriminals use advanced tools and technologies to gain access to the government’s highly sensitive data. The main purpose of targeting government data is to damage data or sell national security and defense data.
The most common examples of Cybercrime include the followings:
One of the most commonly seen examples of cybercrime is a distributed DoS attack. These attacks are mainly performed to shut down systems or networks.
Malware is used to infect systems or networks and harm users by damaging their software, data, or entire systems. Malware is often used to encrypt or shut down the targeted devices until a ransom is paid.
Cybercriminals usually send fraudulent emails or messages to victims and redirect them to fake sites. The site can be an exact copy of any popular site and looks trustworthy. Because of this, users enter their personal information such as usernames, passwords, bank details, or other important data, without knowing that these details are directly reaching cybercriminals.
A credential attack is the most common example of cybercrime, where a cybercriminal aims to steal information about a user’s financial accounts. In most cases, this type of attack is carried out using brute-force by installing the Keylogger software, which secretly logs everything that the user enters via the keyboard.
Another common example of cybercrime is website hacking where cybercriminals try to gain access to the website and change or remove content without authorization. In order to perform this type of attack, cybercriminal usually inserts malicious code into a website using the SQL (Structured Query Language) injection method.
How to know if I’m targeted by cybercrime?
It is not easy to find out if a person is targeted by cybercriminals or has been a victim of cybercrime. However, the following signs may be an indication that something is suspicious and may be the cause of cybercrime:
Malware infection: Computer or other devices may start running slowly even when there is no heavy applications are running. Additionally, several error messages may occur on the screen.
Keylogger: There can be various suspicious icons on your machine. Also, there can be duplicate text issue with whatever you type or paste using the machine.
Botnet: The computer may take a long time to shut down or not shut down properly. In addition, there can be several other activities such as programs running slowly, unable to download windows and antivirus updates, fan running so fast even in the ideal state, etc. It is very difficult to detect if your machine is infected with a botnet.
Phishing or pharming attack: You may see an unknown or suspicious deduction on your credit card or other compromised accounts.
Cryptojacking: You will notice a decrease in performance even performing very basic tasks on the computer. Also, there can be a hike in electric bills due to heavy resource consumption.
If sudden unexpected activities are happening on your computer, tablet, mobile, or any other network device then there may be a reason for cybercriminals activities. Therefore, if your device behaves strangely and sounds suspicious, then advice should be taken from cyber experts. If you have been targeted by cybercrime, it is better to disconnect the device from the network and take some time to report cybercrime using another secure device.