How People Prevent Cybercrime

Instructor: James Mason

James Mason has been working in the technology sector for over 20 years. He has a Master's degree and has taught Web language programming and design.

In the United States the loses from cybercrime is over a billion dollars a year. Each person that uses the internet is a potential victim of cybercrime. These crimes include, compromised emails, ransomware, malicious code, and extortion.

Cybercrime

Every person that uses the internet needs to know how to protect themselves from cybercrimes. The term cybercrime is a generic term for any criminal activity that involves computers and networks. That means cybercrimes can include, social media stalking, downloading illegal music or movies, spam email, and many other activities.

Some ways that people can prevent cybercrimes

Password security

Your life on the Internet may include many different passwords. It is very difficult to keep track of all the passwords you may have, so some people write them down. This is not a bad idea if that document is kept in a secure place. Leaving a list of passwords in an unlocked drawer or some other location that is not secure at all, is a very bad idea.

Passwords that you generate should be very secure. This means using a strong password that has at least eight characters and includes a mixture of letters and numbers, and possibly symbols.

Changing your password on a regular basis is also a good way to make sure your password is secure as possible.

Keep your system up to date

Hackers are constantly trying to find security flaws with software that is commonly used. Keeping your software up to date is a good defense against those attacks.

Software developers are constantly patching holes that have been discovered in their software. If you had a tire on a car and you were told there were holes in it, could you ignore those warnings and keep using the car safely? Just as with your car, you need to apply the patches that are provided by the software manufacturers as soon as they are provided.

For instance, probably the biggest target for hackers is the Windows Operating System. This is the most common operating system in the world so one security flaw could allow hackers to attack millions of computer systems. The Microsoft developers analyze attacks and patch the areas that allow those attacks. They release those patches to the public on a regular basis, so configuring your Windows system to automatically update will keep you from being a victim of some of the Windows based attacks.

Antivirus software

Almost all newer computers come with antivirus software pre-installed. So having access to antivirus software is not an issue for most people. Leading antivirus software will not only detect viruses, but will remove and protect your machine from that threat in the future.

The biggest issue with antivirus software protection is that users do not keep their antivirus software updated, so they are missing out on the newest defense techniques for attacks that have been found.

There are many different antivirus programs. The reason there are so many different antivirus options is because there are so many malicious viruses to be protected from. Make sure you have your machine protected by at least one antivirus program.

Backups

One of the fastest growing and most profitable cybercrimes is Ransomware. This is when a virus runs through your machine or network of machines and encrypts certain types of documents.

The encryption keeps you from being able to read your documents and the only way to decrypt the documents is to pay the 'ransom' to the hacker that is holding the key to decrypting your documents.

This attack has happened to many hospitals, university, and city administration centers. Some of the ones attacked had to pay thousands of dollars to the attackers to get their documents back because they had so many documents affected.

The best defense against Ransomware is to have all of your documents regularly and securely backed up. If you, or a user on your network, get infected by Ransomware you can delete all the encrypted files and restore the documents from your backups.

Research retail sites

If you find something online that you want to purchase, make sure you do some research on the site that is selling the product. If the site is not a common well-known seller, make sure you check their online reputation by searching for the site name and the site URL.

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