Crime doesn't only have to be physical. There's also room in the virtual environment, and the best version of crime in the virtual world is cybercrime. Read more about cybercrime, the types, a few common examples, and, most importantly, how to avoid falling prey to it as you scroll on.


What Is Cybercrime?

A wide range of malicious activities that involve computers, networks, or networked devices is cybercrime. Cybercriminals carry out cybercrime. They involve themselves in it mostly for profit, and, their profiles range from newbies to established gurus. Cybercriminals rarely only commit the crime to cripple computer functions, intercept networks, and to spread illegal information, but for profit (mostly monetary). There are both individual and group cybercriminals.


Cybercrimes will always either be:


1. Attacks that target computers

Cybercrime that target computers often use malware and various forms of viruses to delete data, stop computers from working, steal valuable information, and do more.


2. Attacks that use computers as weapons


When cybercriminals use computers to reach their goal, they may spread malware or illegal data through them.


3. Attacks that use computers as accessories to a crime


The most common form of malice in this category is when cybercriminals use computers to store illegally-acquired data.


The Types


Cybercrimes are carried out for various reasons; thus, the following types:


1. Cyberespionage


In cyberespionage, the criminal hacks into another network or system, mainly to make away with the target's confidential data for various reasons. The reasons can range from personal and business advantage to political and military gain. Hackers, in this case, can be professionally trained tech-savvy or even a mole in the target system or network.


2. Cryptojacking


You can tell from the name that this is a type of malice that involves cryptocurrencies. The criminals use fake scripts to mine cryptocurrencies without a user's consent. A user gets lured into clicking malicious links so that his/her computer loads a crypto-mining code in the background. Likewise, criminals can infect websites/ads with JavaScript codes that execute the mining process once loaded.


3. Cyberextortion


Criminals who make cyberextortion attacks often threaten to attack (or attack) a system while demanding for money so that they stop. They can deny the user from accessing his/her files in what is known as a DoS (Denial of Service) attack and demand for money in exchange for the music.


4. Ransomware


Ransomware is a type of cyberextortion in which the criminal threatens to misuse (publish or keep encrypted) the target's data, asking for a ransom to be paid to stop the action. While some may be possible to reverse, some are almost just impossible to reverse.


5. Identity Fraud


Identity fraud entails a criminal accessing the target's information via a computer. S/he then uses the data to steal his/her target's identity or obtain his useful personal details like bank data. Cybercriminals may also sell these stolen identities to "darknets" and to other individuals that need them for various purposes.


6. Software Piracy


If a person copies, distributes or uses another person's own software to his/her advantage, s/he has committed software piracy.


A Few Examples


The following are more explicit examples of cybercrimes, some of which you may have fallen a victim:


1. Phishing


Phishing is when a fraudster sends multiple emails to an organization's employees — or users — in an attempt to win their attention. Users are urged to click on certain links or download some files. When they do this, malware and viruses get access to the users' systems and into their organization's.


2. Malware Attacks


With malware attacks, the computer or network gets infected by, mostly, a virus. While the virus is in action, cybercriminals can steal or damage data, as well as use the infected computer for other fraudulent activities.


3. DDoS Attacks


A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack happens when a network's communication protocol is made to compromise itself such that connection request can't be executed. While connections can't work out, the hacker gets an advantage, for example, to attack the computer further while the user is engrossed in the initial attack.


4. Credentials Attack


Here, the criminal may guess or steal another user's passwords and or other essential private documents for access to his account. After they accept, we both understand that the criminal is likely to steal a lot of data and money.


How To Keep It At Bay


So what are the best ways to keep such attacks away from your devices or networks? We answer that below:


1. Use Antivirus Software


Antivirus software can detect and remove threats to your computer or network. You must ensure that you're using popular antivirus software that has worked for others. Keeping the software up to date also helps a great deal.


2. Avoid Spam Emails


You've read about the potential risk of spam emails. They provide cybercriminals with a smart way of stealing your data — or mining cryptocurrencies using your data. Do not even open them; or, avoid clicking on links and downloading files in them.


3. Use Strong Passwords


Using strong passwords will help you keep away credentials attack. Strong passwords are hard to guess. If possible, use a reputable password manager to generate a strong password.


4. Visit Only Legitimate Websites


Spammy website links are easy to notice. Their URLs are often long, and the websites aren't usually secure. Legitimate sites have high-end security features as well as a strong security reputation.


5. Don't Share Personal Information With Unsafe/Suspicious Websites


If you suspect a request sent to you asking for your personal data isn't genuine, think again. Some of the safest actions to take in this case is contacting the implied website for further information. Sharing personal information with blatantly unsafe websites is getting yourself into trouble; who shall you blame?