Earlier the only crimes were physical…bank robberies, thefts, mugging, etc. Today, many find cybercrime more profitable…even though many of them get arrested.
For instance, you can’t rob a big company like amazon physically…you’ll be overpowered. That, or you’ll be arrested soon after. However, if you’re a hacker, there are a number or things you can do. You can access their databases, steal user account information, credit card details. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.
Recently, people’s personal computers got infected through email phishing. What they saw on their screens was a message, which basically said that their computers were encrypted and if they didn’t transfer a certain number of bitcoins to a certain account within a stipulated time, their data would get erased.
This is what your screen looked like:
How did this work?
The U.S. government supposedly found some critical vulnerabilities in Windows computers, but chose not to inform Microsoft about it. Instead, they developed a software to exploit it, called EternalBlue. One month prior to the attack, Microsoft released an update which was a fix for this vulnerability. However, not many people updated their computers. Soon enough, EternalBlue was stolen by a hacking group, which released it. Since many computers didn’t have the fix, the attack was successful.
Just for the record, in the WannaCry attack, over 200,000 computers were affected, but there are only a handful of people who said their files got decrypted. Why?
The process was not automated. It was manual, and that’s why very few people actually received a decryption key.
In no way am I trying to tell you that cybercrime is profitable or good. All I’m trying to say is, cybercrime is not to be taken lightly. It’s no joke, and what’s worse, every single year the number of hackers, ethical or others, are increasing. This makes it dangerous for people like us who don’t know much about hacking or cybercrime, isn’t it?
Let’s begin with understanding what Cybercrime is. According to you, what’s cybercrime?
Whenever I asked one of my friends or anyone else what they thought cybercrime is, all their responses were crimes on the internet. That’s right.
However, when I asked them what are the kinds of cyber-attacks that people face nowadays, most of them only knew this: email scams. We must understand, they are not wrong. Email scams are very dangerous, but there are so many other things which we are so unaware of, which we actually should know.
To get a basic idea of cybercrime, here’s all that you need to know:
- Cybercrime is NOT a joke: I cannot stress on how much someone’s mistaken if they take cybercrime as a joke. It’s not one, and you shouldn’t take it like one. It’s not just any small crime, and don’t think you’re safe from it because you’re not a celebrity. Celebrities get affected by it more because they’re known, but you’re vulnerable too. That example of cybercrime that we talked about was an actual case, and imagine losing all your important documents!
- Cybercrime isn’t for specific people: If there is one thing you should understand, it’s that cybercrime is not just for certain people…anyone can be affected by it. Cybercrime is not only conducted on a large scale. You can be affected by it too…
- Today everyone uses social media like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and whatever else is there. Very often you’ll hear about someone or the other’s account getting hacked. They’re not famous people, they’re normal people. Not too long ago, I read in the papers about a case where a lady disappointed a friend of hers. The very fact that she disappointed him, was enough for him to hack her account and send edited obscene pictures of her to her friends (note that these pictures were not real, he literally edited pictures and made them that way). Obviously he was arrested, but think about the effect something like that had on her.
- This was just one example. There are many worse things that could happen to anyone, and you’d never see it coming.
- Another incident was when a man who was at a high position in a company
started receiving death threats. His company had a group of ethical hackers, and they traced the source of these death threats to one employee that he fired some time ago.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you should note this. If you’re in a position to fire people, you should note this. You probably have fired people before. Imagine if something like that happened to you! A simple firing of an employee could trigger such extreme reactions out of people.
With this, you must understand that it’s not just celebrities who are exposed to hackers. Anything can happen to anyone, from the simple hacking of a Facebook account right to getting affected by something like the WannaCry attack.
Make it simple: Don’t confuse yourself, if you are confused in the first place. Cybercrime is nothing but the crimes done through a computer. Everything else is the same. A crime done to take revenge, steal money, a way of making easy money. That’s all there is to it.
A gist of a few crimes that are becoming common by the day:
- Apps like USB Dumper, which copy your pen drive’s data secretly on the computer which has this installed. You will never know. Secret information gets leaked this way.
- The Credit Card Swipe: You go to a restaurant, swipe your credit card to pay the bill. Machine copies your information, and later swipe a blank card. Now the blank card acts as your credit card.
- Email Phishing: Everyone knows about email phishing. You get an email saying you’ve earned a million dollars, and to pay some amount to claim it.
- Viruses: They’re all over the place. You can simply get a virus by visiting an unsecured website, or by downloading something. They can give the virus- creator access to your information. Also known as malware.
- Vulnerabilities in Public Spaces: Your phone is not secure, your laptop is not secure. You connect to a public Wi-Fi, boom! You’re vulnerable with the snap of a finger.
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