Cybercrime has overtaken the drug trade as one of the most profitable forms of illegal business globally. Cybercrime is predicted to cost $11.4 million per minute globally by 2021. The fact that the internet reaches across the globe means cyber criminals can effectively target anyone in any country and it makes it exceedingly difficult for law enforcement to track down who these people are. Even if they do find out who’s responsible there’s many political, technical and legal barriers that prevent them from being arrested. The result of this is a consistent increase in cybercrime over the last few years and for the foreseeable future. Here is a list of some of the top cybercrimes that have gained popularly in the last few years:
Phishing scams are designed to trick you into giving up information by pretending to be sent from someone you trust. For example you may receive an email claiming to be from your bank, asking you to verify your account by giving your account number, password, social security number, social insurance number etc. Another method is to send you a link that will send you to a replica of the company’s real website, once you go to that website and attempt to login your information is captured and sent to the hacker, who will then have access to your account. If you check your spam folder you can find tons of examples of this. Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of phishing scam that tries to get login information for a business email, from there that person can then use that email to hack directly into the company itself. Phishing and Business Email Compromise resulted in a loss of $12 billion from 2013-2018 in the United States.
Identify Fraud is when someone steals your personal information such as a social security number, social insurance number, credit card etc and uses it to impersonate you. Someone can use this information to open credit cards in your name, access your bank accounts, open new bank accounts in your name, use your credit cards, put loans in your name etc. Identity Fraud has cost $16.9 billion dollars globally in 2019. The best ways to prevent identity fraud are:
Read your credit card and bank statements each month.
Never give your credit card number over the phone, unless you made the call and trust the business or person.
Report suspicious transactions to your credit card company or bank.
Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries.
Shred any documents with personal or financial information on them before throwing them in the trash.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) is when someone tries to make a system or network resource unavailable by flooding it with unsolicited traffic. Essentially the person uses multiple machines to send traffic at the target until the target is receiving so much information that it can’t respond to legitimate requests e.g. customers trying to browse the company website. It is an effective way to reduce a company’s profit and is commonly used to hackers when they are trying to pressure an organization into paying them, to correct an action they deem as immoral etc. IT services downtime cost between $300,000 to $1,000,000 per hour, which shows the large financial impact this type of cyberattack can have on a company. A recent example of this was Amazon Web Services (AWS) that suffered a DDOS attack in February 2020 that lasted 3 days.
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing the files on your computer systems until you pay a ransom to the hacker. It does this by encrypting all the files on your computer so that they can’t be read and once the ransom is paid the hacker will usually honour the agreement to decrypt the files so that it can be used by the business. It is one of the most lucrative forms of malware, knowing that most businesses cannot function without access to their files it is consistently used against businesses to generate profits for hackers. Ransomware requires that the malware be put on the network so the best way to prevent it is to ensure that you have the security controls in place to prevent people from putting malware on your network. Additionally:
Keep operating systems, software, and applications patched and up to date.
Ensure anti-malware solutions are configured to automatically update and schedule regular scans.
Back up company data regularly and ensure they are not connected to the systems and networks they are backing up.
Create a continuity plan for ransomware attacks.
Global ransomware costs are predicted to exceed $20 billion by 2021.
Cyberbullying is any form of bullying or harassment that occurs using electronic means. It is becoming increasingly common among teenagers as people’s online presence and social media is becoming a more important part of their lives. It usually results in kids feeling anxiety, lack of self-esteem and sometimes depression. 87% of young people have seen some form of cyberbullying, 36.5% of people feel they have been cyberbullied in their lifetime with 17.4% saying it happened in the last 30 days.