Most people now shop more online, work more online and play more online. In fact, the millennia’s of today practically live online. As our lives increasingly depend on digital services, the need to protect our information from being maliciously disrupted or misused is really important and the need to know basic essential cyber security knowledge and skills can to help protect your digital life.
What is CyberCrime
Cybercrimes are crimes that involve the use of a computer and a network (hacking). In some cases, the computer may have been used in order to commit the crime, and in other cases, the computer may have been the target of the crime. Examples of cybercrimes are telemarketing and phishing, internet fraud, identity theft, and card account thefts and these activities are conducted illegally through the use of a computer and the Internet. People involved in this act are known as cybercriminals.
How Cybercriminals works?
- Viruses infect computers through email attachments and file sharing. They delete files, attack other computers, and make your computer run slowly. One infected computer can cause problems for all computers on a network. There are numerous reasons that a person would create a virus to send out to another computer or computers. It may be to steal information or money, to sabotage that system or to demonstrate the flaws that the other computer system has.
- Hackers are people who “trespass” into your computer from a remote location. They may use your computer to send spam or viruses, host a Web site, or do other activities that cause computer malfunctions.
- Spyware: Spyware is software that “piggybacks” on programs you download, gathers information about your online habits, and transmits personal information without your knowledge. It may also cause a wide range of other computer malfunctions.
- Identity theft is the method of stealing someone’s personal information and pretending to be that person in order to obtain financial resources or other benefits in that person’s name without their consent. Identity theft is considered a cybercrime. The personal information stolen can include the person’s name, social security number, birth date or payment card numbers. This stolen information is then used to impersonate the person, access bank accounts and obtain other benefits.
Now to avoid been a victim of cybercrime, cyber security basics are necessary. First what is cyber security?
Cyber security refers to the technology, process and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access via the Internet by cyber criminals. In other words it’s the process and practice designed to guard against cybercrimes
The following are some useful tips to guard against cybercrime:
Use up-to-date anti-virus This is a given: all computers must have anti-virus software. The anti-virus software is specifically created and designed to protect your computer against known viruses. Since new viruses are created almost daily, there is a need to update your anti-virus program on a regular basis to recognize these new variants of viruses.
Enable Firewalls Firewalls are virtual defensive fortifications to protect your computer from the outside world. They filter unauthorized data from elsewhere, mostly the Internet, while allowing authorized or ‘good’ data to enter your computer.
Emails discrimination The simplest rule is this: if you don’t know the person who is sending you an email, be very careful about opening the email and never open any file attached to it. Sometimes, you may have a vague idea who the sender is, but you should still be careful. Some tell-tale signs include unusual hyperlinks and/or urgent messages to open the attached file. Some of your friends may have been conned and unwittingly forwarded you a virus-laden email. When in doubt, delete. Your friend will understand.
Passwords Passwords were created to be your secret pass key to computer data. Like real-life keys, passwords are only as good if they are difficult to ‘duplicate’ or guessed. Some of the guidelines are:
- Don’t share your password, don’t use your same password in more than one place, and most importantly, create a password that is difficult to guess. Here are some time-tested rules in password-making:
- Passwords should have a minimum of 8 characters, and should be as meaningless as possible.
- Use all kinds of types possible – lower case, upper case, numbers, symbols, special characters, etc.
- Change your passwords regularly, every three months, for example.
Back-up Data Experienced computer users know one primary rule: always back up your data. Small amounts of data can be stored on disks and on CDs if they are more than the disk can handle. For computers in a network, the usual backup is through the network data storage system. The overall idea is that if anything happens to your primary data, you can always retrieve them from somewhere.
File sharing Another big no-no for experienced computer users is sharing them with strangers. Your computer operating system may allow file sharing from other computers in your network or from the Internet. This is one sure way of infecting your computer. Be sure to turn off and disable file-sharing if it is not needed.
Disconnecting from the Internet Cutting your computer’s connection with the Internet when not in use lessens the possibility of accessing it. If your computer has no firewall or updated anti-virus protection, someone could harm it.
Update security patches Just like your anti-virus program, there is a need to regularly update your other computer programs. Sometimes, bugs are discovered in your regular programs that can be an entrance to your computer for any malicious person to attack and infect. Cyber security, like any real security, needs everybody’s help for it to succeed and avert those dreaded computer attacks.