Cyber Guide: Top 5 Popular Cyber Crimes You Should Be Aware Of

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Internet is without doubt one of the best things that happened to the world in the last three decades. It has opened so many opportunities, and most of all, it enables people to communicate and trade online. Today, most businesses trade online. But internet streets have also become dangerous places.

Criminals moved from our streets to online, where they are terrorising everyone from giant organisations and private citizens. Every year, millions of dollars are being lost to cybercriminals. You must have heard of hackings and the amount of money associated with such criminal activities.

You may not know, but every year, there has been an increase in the number of cyberattacks even here in Australia. What happens is most organisations do not go public to avoid losing investors’ confidence. What are the most common cyber attacks Australia? That’s what we have for you in this article.

Here are 5 popular cyber crimes and how you can prevent them:

1. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common and successful cyber-attacks not only here in Australia but also globally. These scammers mimic anything, including emails, messages, or social media profiles, and send you links with phishing software. A phishing attack spies on you and steals data without your knowledge.

Immediately after you click the sent link, the software installs and gives the scammer access to obtain personal information such as passwords and pins from your phone or computer. They can use the details to steal money from your banks, access your emails and so on. That is how people lose money to phishing fraudsters.

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Prevention: Do not open links promising goodies. If sent a URL from a suspicious source, type the domain name directly instead of clicking. You should also be able to read the tell-tale signs of a phishing campaign. Phishing awareness among employees is also crucial.

2. Ransomware

As the name suggests, this type of cyber crime has something to do with paying out sums of money to release something. Only that in this case, your data is the hostage. Fraudsters attacks and steal data from you and demand payment to return it. It’s more of traditional extortion, only that it’s happening online.

Ransomware is software that encrypts data after successful phishing. Once your data is encrypted, you cannot access it until you pay the agreed ransom. This is an extortion scam that’s a big concern for companies even here in Australia. Studies have shown that Ransomware attacks are growing by almost 100% every year.

Prevention: Once ransomware has struck your company, the only thing that will save you is a data backup. Otherwise, you will need to pay the hacker. The best prevention is phishing awareness because that is where everything starts.

3. Website Spoofing

Arrested computer hacker with handcuffsWith website spoofing, scammers will design a phishing website that looks exactly like a legitimate one, maybe your favourite online shop. They will trick you into using a fake website. Once you key in your data such as username, email, passwords, credit card number and so on, they will steal it.

They will either use the data to blackmail and extort money from you or steal from you. They can buy from online stores using stolen credit card information. Therefore, there is a lot of damage they can do with the stolen personal information.

Prevention: Ignore anything you were not anticipating. If a URL is sent to you, don’t click but go direct to the trusted domain. You should also avoid any message that’s creating a form of ‘urgency’ to open. If a legitimate company is trying to reach you in a weird way, treat it as a red flag.

4. Malware

Malware is another cybercrime you need to know and protect yourself from. It is also a software attack, but it’s not like ransomware that holds your data hostage. What criminals using this method do is making you install phishing software like keyloggers without your knowledge. With a successful installation of the malware, they can spy on your activities and steal your personal/financial information.

Malware attackers still remain the biggest online threats, especially for corporates. They have been very successful in phishing crucial information from big companies worldwide, even here in Australia. Malware comes in many forms, including viruses that corrupt files or damage your system functionality. It can also be Trojans, worms or botnets disguised as legitimate software.

Prevention: Avoid suspicious websites, and be cautious with email attachments. You should also install a quality antivirus program and keep updating it. It’s also important that you learn how to identify and avoid phishing campaigns.

5. Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud

Arrested computer hacker with handcuffsIdentity theft and credit card fraud is a cybercrime that has been around for years. This is a crime where criminals pretend to be you after accessing your personal and financial information. They can access your credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial benefits in your name.

With your personal information, a criminal can also use your identity to commit a crime. Identity thieves have been changing their tactics by advancing with technology. That’s the reason identity theft has been around for years, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Prevention: Always protect your personal information. If you are buying using a credit card, do not leave a copy of the receipt behind. If you lose your credit card, report immediately and get it blocked. Always transact on trustworthy and secure online stores. Make it a habit to check your bank and credit card transactions often for suspicious transactions.

These are just five of the major cybercrimes you should know. What cybercriminals are looking for is your personal and financial information. Be alert for all possible attacks and keep your details safe. If charged with criminal charges due to identity theft, you need a good criminal defence, or you might serve for a crime you did not commit. A good defence lawyer can prove identity theft.

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