As developments in the internet increase, it seems that internet devices have surpassed the people who use them. Cybercriminals use these devices to exploit people all around the world and you and i are no exception. But you may ask;
How can i protect myself from cybercrime?
This article will discuss 5 things you need to know in order to protect yourself from cybercriminals. But first we will discuss what cybercrime is.
What Is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime, is a crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer is either used in the commission of a crime, or it is the target. Cybercrime is also known as computer-oriented crime.
Cybercrimes are offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using the Internet. Aspects of the internet used include chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups.
Issues surrounding cybercrimes have become high-profile, particularly those regarding hacking, copyright infringement and unwarranted mass-surveillance.
It is difficult to find and combat cyber crime’s perpetrators due to their use of the internet in support of cross-border attacks. Not only does the internet allow people to be targeted from various locations, but the scale of the harm done can be magnified.
Cyber criminals can target more than one person at a time. The availability of virtual spaces to public and private sectors has allowed cybercrime to become an everyday occurrence.
Did you know? In 2018 alone, The Internet Crime Complaint Center received 351,937 complaints of cybercrime, which lead to $2.7 billion lost.
A report (sponsored by McAfee), published in 2014, estimated that the annual damage to the global economy was $445 billion. Approximately $1.5 billion was lost in 2012 to online credit and debit card fraud in the US. In 2018, a study by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with McAfee, concludes that close to $600 billion, nearly one percent of global GDP, is lost to cybercrime each year.
You can only imagine the havoc cybercrime has caused over the years.
How Can I Protect Myself From Cybercrime?
Here are just a few precautions you need to adhere to so as to protect yourself from cybercriminals;
Be vigilant while browsing
Cybercriminals will try to gain access to your personal information in order to steal your funds or to access confidential information. So be very careful about giving out your personal information while browsing. When using social media platforms reduce the amount of information you give about yourself and check your accounts’ privacy settings to limit who can see your personal information.
Cybercriminals can use this to steal your identity. They can open a phone/internet account in your name, use your name to plan a criminal activity and claim government benefits in your name just by retrieving personal information from social media platforms.
Lastly, never give out personal information on websites that are not secure. You will be able to tell if a website uses safe programming if the website address begins with https://. Do not give personal information on websites that use http://.
Identify and Report suspicious Emails
Cybercriminals can send phishing emails. This involves sending malicious email attachments or URLs to users to gain access to their accounts or computer. Cybercriminals are becoming more established and many of these emails are not flagged as spam. Users are tricked into emails claiming they need to change their password or update their billing information, giving criminals access.
Online scams via emails have also been very rampant.These are usually in the form of ads or spam emails that include promises of rewards or offers of unrealistic amounts of money. Online scams include enticing offers that are “too good to be true” and when clicked on can cause malware to interfere and compromise information.
If you receive an unsolicited email from someone you don’t know, or a strange email from someone you do know that contains a puzzling attachment or a link, it’s best you avoid it– it could be a virus, or a spoof website.
Install And Keep Antivirus systems up to date
Cybercriminals will like to monitor you by using
PUPS or Potentially Unwanted Programs like malware programs. These programs uninstall necessary software in your system including search engines and pre-downloaded apps. They can include spyware or adware, so it’s a good idea to install an antivirus software to avoid malicious downloads. Do not forget to keep the antivirus softwares up to date.
Use Strong Passwords
When setting up a password do not use weak ones that will be easy to guess like pet names. A strong password is one that contains a combination of letters and numbers, both uppercase letters and lower case letters. When setting up online wallets activate a two-factor authentication. Endeavor to use online platforms that make use of security questions as additional security.
Use a VPN when possible
VPN(Virtual private network) uses data encryption to hide your internet activity from cybercriminals. If you can afford one, using a VPN is one of the best ways to avoid internet fraud.
Over the years alot of people have been the victim of cybercrime. Prevention they say is better than cure so follow the above steps and be cybercrime free.0
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