The Major Types of Cybercrime
To protect yourself from cybercrime, you need to familiarize yourself with all the different kinds. There’s just no going around it. After all, you can’t defend yourself against something you don’t know, right? Here are of six major types of cybercrime that you should know about.
By definition, hacking is the unauthorized accessing of a single device (such as a laptop or a smartphone) or a computer network, and those who engage in the activity are called hackers.
Keep in mind, though, that in the strictest sense of the word, hacking is not illegal in and of itself, and is therefore not a crime. It is simply a skill, and it is what people can do with this skill that may be illegal.
Cyberstalking is the use of the internet and various online platforms within as well as other electronic devices to stalk, harass, or blackmail any person or group. In some cases, cyberstalking can escalate to physical violence, rape, and even murder.
Just like actual stalking, cyberstalking is considered a crime in most parts of the world. In the United States, for example, cyberstalking is a federal crime under Title 47 of the U.S. Code.
3. Online identity theft
This is when a person is able to steal your personal information (Social Security number, credit card information, bank account numbers) through online means. It can be achieved in a variety of ways such as email phishing, malware injection, and brute force hacking.
In terms of financial loss as well as the serious hassle it causes, identity theft is one of the most destructive forms of cybercrime. In one fell swoop, a cybercriminal can take over your finances and take your money.
4. Online child abuse
This is, without a doubt, the most heinous type of cybercrime. There are many activities that constitute online child abuse including the downloading, selling, and distribution of child pornography through websites and forums and the solicitation of children for sex via chatrooms.
Along with cyberstalking, online child abuse (and child abuse in general) is a federal crime under the U.S. Code.
5. Ransomware attack
A ransomware attack is when a cybercriminal injects a specific kind of malware (called ransomware) into your device. Ransomware gets its name because it is designed to block access to your data until a certain amount is paid, thereby holding it for ransom. In most cases, ransoms are demanded to be paid in bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.
Ransomware attacks also cause significant financial damage. In 2017, it was reported that the global cost of ransomware exceeded $5 billion dollars.
6. Internet fraud (online scams)
The purpose of an online scam is for you the victim, into willingly giving up money under false pretenses. One typical scenario is called the “charity fraud”. Here, a criminal appeals to your sense of righteousness by posing as a representative of a charitable organization dedicated to a meaningful cause like cancer or AIDS research. After spinning you around, the perpetrator will then ask for a hefty donation, which can be a either a one-time payment or a series of payments.
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