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Top 5 Types of Cybercrimes – Tips for Cybercrime Prevention

The Digital Age is upon us. While it has reaped benefits for all, one must also be aware of the cons of this digital revolution. And the biggest con is CYBERCRIME! Familiarize yourself with the types of cybercrimes with this handy list of cybercrimes. Read on to know what is cybercrime and some useful tips for cybercrime prevention.

The Rise of the Digital Era

The computer and the internet have changed the way we go about our routine lives, be it at home or at work.

WhatsApp messages and social media updates have replaced letters and physical gatherings. Boardroom meetings are now conducted through video conferences. Kids prefer learning from apps and laptops than books.  

Yes, the internet has made life simpler and more connected. But, as a result, cybercrimes have also become an unavoidable and inseparable part of our lives. So much so that a cybercrime is now a trending and booming mode of income for some!!

The least we can do it to educate ourselves and others about the different types of cybercrimes so that we may take the necessary preventive steps. Read on to find the list of cybercrimes that one must be wary of!

Cybercrimes Are Now a Booming Mode of Income

We are not trying to advocate choosing cybercrime as your career interest, but these statistics are shocking!

Did you know that the individual earning of crooks from different types of cybercrimes is 10-15% higher than other traditional crimes? In fact, the highest earnings can go up to $167k per month while mid-level earners can make nearly $75k per month! Some cyber conmen rake in nearly half a million dollars in a year by simply trafficking embezzled data!

Furthermore, the annual revenues from cybercrime will leave you shocked! Illegal online markets churn out the highest revenues for cyber conmen, amounting to nearly $860 billion. Likewise, data trading and ransomware generate an annual revenue of nearly $160 billion and $1 billion respectively!!!


What is Cybercrime?

So exactly what is cybercrime? And, how do we classify a crime as a ‘cybercrime’?

Technically, a cybercrime constitutes any illegal or criminal activity involving a computing device and/or the internet. The term ‘cybercrime’ is usually associated with crimes directly involving a computer or the internet. However, it also includes traditional crimes in which computers or the internet are used to execute illegal activities.

Interestingly, ‘what is cybercrime’ is not clearly defined in any of the Indian legislation. Be it the IT Act 2000, IT Amendment Act 2008 or the National Cyber Security Policy 2013, none define a cybercrime. A cybercrime is any offense which involves a computer or computing device. Thus, a cybercrime encompasses any crime in which a computer or information stored in it is the medium, object or target of offense.

Types of Cybercrimes

What is cybercrime? This is a question that you can now answer. Therefore, it is about time that you be cognizant of the different types of cybercrimes. Here’s the list of cybercrimes that have at times brought the most prepared of all nations down to their knees.

1. Hacking

Hacking is the act of breaking into a computer without the user’s knowledge or permission. Hackers are usually skilled computer programmers having an outstanding knowledge of computer and programming languages. Malicious hackers are the ones who use their knowledge with the wrong intentions.

There is another form of hacking which is LEGIT.

Also known as ‘white hat hacking, ethical hacking is legit hacking. Ethical hacking enables the hacker, also called a penetration tester, to assess the loopholes and vulnerabilities in a network/system.

Some Well-Known Hackers!

Did you know that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is an accomplished hacker himself? Some of the famous computer geeks were once expert hackers who channelized their skills constructively. This includes names such as Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson who created the UNIX operating system and Shawn Fanning who developed Napster.

2. Phishing

Phishing scams involve the use of electronic communication to extract sensitive information such as passwords, usernames, or financial details.

In a phishing scam, fraudsters disguise themselves as a trustworthy entity and contact the victim through a phone call, email, text message or social media. They often pretend to call from a bank, telephone company or internet provider.

Phishing scams often involve tricking the victim into clicking a malicious link that leads to the installation of a malware. There are various forms of phishing such as Email Phishing, SMShing, Spear Phishing, and Vishing. All these forms use social engineering to convince the victim into sharing his/her personal information.

3. Virus Attack

Virus attacks are probably one of the most familiar types of cybercrimes. Viruses are nothing but computer programs that can disrupt the computer system and the files in it either by modifying them or deleting them altogether! Viruses have a tendency to spread to other computers connected to the network associated with the infected system.

The economic damages caused by computer viruses can be direct or indirect. This helps classify viruses into 2 categories. One that only spreads and does not cause any intentional damage. Second, those that are specially programmed to cause damage.

Modes of Computer Virus Dissemination

Remember that unlike other types of cybercrimes, computer viruses can be easily disseminated through the internet or a removable device. Using an infected CD-ROM, USB flash drive, magnetic tape or any other storage medium in other computers can spread the virus to them. In fact, a computer can contract a virus even from a malicious email attachment or website, or infected software.

4. Malware

Almost everyone is familiar with a ‘malware’ after the infamous ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack on networks across the globe. In the simplest terms, malware = malicious + software. A malware is a software created with the intent of causing damage or gain illegal access to a computer/network. Malware includes everything from viruses and worms to spyware and Trojan Horses.

Ransomware is also a form of malware that encrypts the files on an infected system. It renders the files/data inaccessible until the payment of a ransom to decrypt them.

Avoid Clicking on Suspicious or Arbitrary Links

A typical form of infecting a system with malware is by sending a malicious link through email and/or social media messages. These links that appear to be sent from a trusted source trick the victim into clicking them. Soon after clicking the link, the malicious software downloads on the system.

Once installed, a malware enables scammers to have access to the files on your system. Furthermore, they tend to misuse the personal data to execute identity theft, blackmail the victim or make unauthorized purchases.

5. DoS Attack

DoS, when expanded, means Denial of Service. As the name itself states, the purpose of a DoS attack is to deny services to the intended customers of that service. A DoS attack causes the target server/service/network to crash or slow down by flooding it with internet traffic. This technique is often used by cyber conmen when they wish to render a website inoperable.

A variation of the DoS attack is the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack where a number of compromised systems are used to clog a server. The compromised systems may include computers or other resources connected to a network such as IoT devices.

DDoS attacks are notorious for targeting high-profile web servers such as those belonging to banks and payment gateways.

List of Cybercrimes

Apart from the aforesaid types of cybercrimes, there are several others and new ones added every single day. Here are the other cybercrimes that you must be aware of.

  • Logic Bombs
  • Cyber Stalking
  • Identity Theft
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Online Abuse
  • Cyber Defamation
  • Data Diddling
  • Data Theft
  • Email Bombing
  • Electronic Money Laundering
  • Software Piracy

Cybercrime Prevention Tips That You Must Keep Handy

The above sections gave you an overview of the different types of cybercrimes. The following section shall give you some handy tips for cybercrime prevention.

Use Strong Passwords

Avoid having the same password for different accounts. Always use strong passwords that have a combination of alphabets, numbers and special characters. Avoid writing them down or storing them in a place where they can be easily discovered. It is a good practice to keep changing your password on a regular basis.

Secure Your Computer, Laptops, and Smartphones

Activate the firewall on your computing devices as it offers the first level of cyber defense against malicious attacks. Install an authentic anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer and smartphone. Also, keep updating it at regular intervals. Install anti-spyware software and regularly update it to protect your computer from malicious spyware.

Protect Sensitive Data

Use encryption for the sensitive files on your computer, laptop or mobile that contain financial or personal details. Ensure that you back up your important files and data at regular intervals and store them in a different location.

Secure Your Social Media Accounts

Can’t do without your social media accounts? No worries! But, make sure that the account settings of all your social media profiles are set to private. Do not keep your mobile or email ID public visible to the public. Be cautious of what information/photos you publish online.

Regular System Updates

Do not ignore system updates. Make it a habit to keep your operating system and applications up-to-date. Do turn off auto updates to avoid potential cyber attacks on redundant software/applications.

Secure Your WiFi Network

Remember that an open Wireless network is also a possible gateway for hackers and cyber conmen. It is also possible to launch malware and virus attacks through domestic WiFi networks if they aren’t secured properly. Additionally, you must exercise extra caution when connected to a public hotspot or WiFi. Avoid engaging in financial transactions or exchanging confidential data in such cases.

How Nations Worldwide Are Keeping Cybercrimes at Bay?

In 1996, representatives from Japan, Canada, and the United States came together to draft a preliminary international treaty covering cybercrimes. Some civil groups disapproved of the provisions in the treaty that permitted internet service providers to record consumer transactions. However, the treaty was a success and resulted in the International Convention on Cybercrime in Budapest in 2001.

The International Convention of Cybercrime

Thirty countries, including South Africa, Japan, Canada, and the US signed the Convention. For the first time, it authorized a global cyber police squad to investigate cybercrime cases. They were thus authorized to monitor network communications and record intercepted data across the globe.

Eventually, 2002 witnessed the proposal of protocols covering racist cybercrimes and cyber-terrorism. The United States classifies the unauthorized use of a computer, data theft, and digital fraud as acts of felony. Similarly, several laws have come into action in India too, for bringing steady justice to victims of cybercrimes.

Texial – For the Prevention & Investigation of Cybercrime

Guess you will be more vigilant and alert on online platforms now that you have the list of cybercrimes handy. However, cybercrimes are growing nastier and more sophisticated by the day. Texial is a private digital and cyber forensics lab in Bangalore. It houses a state-of-the-art laboratory and assists law enforcement agencies with the investigation of various types of cybercrimes. Texial Lab also assists various public and private organization in cybercrime prevention and incident response.

Enroll in a Ethical Hacking Boot Camp and earn one of the industry’s most respected certifications — guaranteed.

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Related courses

  • Texial Certified Hacker
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