Much of our lives have moved online. We pay for bills, go shopping and even socialize on the web. As we put more and more information about ourselves in the Internet however, it’s important to think about how protected that information is. The reality is internet attacks are becoming increasingly more common.
In 2012, Javelin Strategy and Research did a study on identity theft in the United States. They found that in 2011, internet fraud increased by 13%. To give you a better idea of what this means, more than 11.6 million adults fell victim to identity fraud last year. What types of cybercrime are out there and is there anything you can do to prevent it?
Efforts Are Being Made
First of all it’s important to understand that the internet is not completely lawless. It wouldn’t be fair to think of it as the Old American West where anything goes. Strong efforts are being made, including several laws passed by the United States government, to curb cybercrime. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, for example, makes it difficult to steal important financial information.
Internet fraud and other forms of cybercrime have become so prevalent that the FBI has named it a top security threat. They along with local police departments have internet crimes divisions, dedicated to the problem.
What Types of Threats Are Out There?
One of the most common is identity theft. Because many people now shop online, cybercriminals will attempt to access your credit card or bank information, allowing them to make purchases with your money. This can happen if you give your information to an untrusted source. Be careful who you give your financial information to and report any suspicious activity immediately when you notice it.
Another form of online crime is cyber stalking. These criminals will monitor your behavior by hacking into your network. They will read your emails to try and pull personal information. They may even contact people you know to get important information about your life.
Finally, be aware of phishing. Most people have received what they call “spam” emails. While these emails are mostly just advertisements, they sometimes try to get you to give them personal information. Those who engage in phishing will send official looking messages from your financial institution. Often times, these messages look very real. Never give your information to someone, unless you know exactly what it will be used for. To be safe, some people refuse to do online banking at all.
What Increases the Risk of Being a Victim?
Be cautious of your social behavior on the internet. The study performed by Javelin Strategy and Research found that those who use social media fell victim to internet fraud more than those who don’t use it. The problem is that many people have public profiles, which anyone can look at. Without thinking too much about it, people usually put personal information on those profiles, including their birthday, phone number, and name of high school. This information can authenticate identity on some websites as well as give clues to passwords and usernames.
The study also found that smartphone users were more likely to be victims. Many people save log in information on their phone, or don’t lock their screen. If their phone is lost or misplaced someone could steal this information easily.
About the Author: Rick Delgado is a freelance writer who specializes in technology advancement and network forensics. He enjoys keeping up with the latest gadgets and anticipating the next breakthroughs.
This article is contributed by Rick Delgado and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of cyberockk.com, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,