The Internet is a wonderful place but also a dangerous one. Tech-savvy individuals and groups take advantage of other people by hacking or stealing their personal information and using it for their criminal activities.
It is a wrong notion that cybercriminals only target companies and big businesses. For those engaging in cybercrimes, organizations and individuals are fair game. As a private citizen, you are exposed to cybercrimes and malicious activities every time you log on to the Internet.
You must be vigilant in recognizing the signs of cybercrimes and protect yourself from becoming a victim of these nefarious cyberpunks. Here are the ten most common cybercrimes and what you should expect in 2020:
1. Identity theft
Identity theft is one of the worst that can happen to an individual. Identity fraud occurs when a hacker steals your identity through identifiable information like your name, social security information, driver’s license, and more. Digital criminals will use these data to commit fraud, use services using your name, steal other people’s property, misappropriate goods, and more.
2. Social engineering
Social engineering is a classic type of cybercrime against an organization or individual. Cybercriminals manipulate people to obtain the information needed to log into networks and systems. Social engineering aims to steal financial data, money, and other valuable information from an individual or business.
Coming from the words “bot” and “network,” botnets are controlled computers that are linked to a network. Botnets spread harmful software and files to launch cyberattacks, infect private systems, spread spam campaigns, and steal information. One way to prevent botnet attacks is by using virtual private networks like reputable NordVPN to prevent hackers from harvesting your private data.
4. Flood attacks
Flood attacks are carried through by botnets to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. These botnets attack IP addresses and domain names to flood the system with malicious requests. These requests will overload servers to render the system unusable. Flood attacks often lead to connectivity problems and service failures for legitimate users of the system.
Bullying does not only happen in person; it can also occur over the Internet. Cyberbullying occurs when someone instigates threats to another person by using electronic communication. Cyber harassments are done by sending anonymous messages through email, instant messaging apps, and social networks to conceal the true identity of the cyberstalker.
6. Phishing attacks
A form of social engineering, phishing attacks aim to steal the personal information of an individual by tricking them into entering their password, login details, and other sensitive information. Cybercriminals will send spam emails containing links to a spoofed website to trick people into entering their confidential personal and financial information. Once you key in your information on the phishing website, it is stored in the hacker’s database. Hackers will then use your email services or social networking accounts to con other people. Some will use your credit card information or bank account information to steal money from you.
7. PUP or Potentially Unwanted Program
A potentially unwanted program is a software that you never installed but was integrated into your system anyway. A PUP is often included in another software that you agreed to install. These are usually found in pirated or cracked software. Potentially unwanted programs come in the form of adware, malware, or dialers.
8. Online scams
There are numerous scams online that aim to trick individuals into believing they will receive rewards and prizes. Unknowing victims receive offers for fake goods, services, and cash. Common examples of online scams are dating scams, Ponzi schemes, charity fraud, online ticket fraud, gambling fraud, fake gift cards, and more. Invitations are usually sent through email, social networks, and messaging apps.
9. Exploit kits
A software toolkit is used to manipulate the vulnerabilities of remote software. Hackers can discreetly exploit Java or Flash to hack websites or to redirect visitors to an unsecured and malicious Web page.
10. Illegal content
It is not surprising to find illegal content over the Internet. Examples of unlawful content are copyrighted materials, child and animal pornography, sites that sell illegal substances and offer prostitution services.
Cybercrime is prevalent and out of control. We expect hackers to be more creative and determined to obtain sensitive personal information and infest networks with malicious software in 2020. To protect yourself from cybercrime, it is essential to update your software regularly. You should also use strong passwords, use anti-malware and antivirus programs, and enable your system firewall. It is also highly recommended to use two-factor authentication for online apps and services. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from cybercrimes is by using a secure VPN when using the Internet, especially when you are using public Wi-Fi. No one can protect you from cybercrimes except yourself, so always be cautious and stay vigilant.