The Internet can be a strange place sometimes, just the simple click of a link may land you in the hands of Cybercriminals who can steal your bank account details or your ATM (Credit) card details.
As a universal tool, the Internet is open to both good and evil. But some group of persons are focused on using the Internet and many other technologies for malicious purposes - This is known as Cybercrime.
"Cybercrime is any illegal act dealing with computers and network; some of the more common examples of criminal activity includes; spamming, credit card fraud, software piracy, denial of service attacks, dissemination of child pornography, computer virus spreading etc."
Cybercrime could now be politically/Religiously motivated or a Black-hat hacker may just enjoy hacking for the fun and ego.
But in most prevalent cases, Cybercrimes are perpetuated for the purpose of cozening (stealing) money from the pockets, bank accounts and credit card of unsuspecting victims.
TYPES OF ATTACK
Undirected threats- are threats that are not directed at you personally, but might still affect you.
Examples include phishing emails and computer virus infections.
These methods are always automated and are just looking to get new victims, that can be everyone.
Some schemes can evolve into a directed threat (for example when responding to e-mails telling you that you just won the "Spanish online lottery".
Also unprotected websites, or networks, can be dangerous if you fill in your login codes or credit card information.
To protect yourself from this type of threats we recommend that you follow the best tips on General Computer Security, Secure E-mailing and Secure Browsing.
Directed threats- are the most dangerous ones. A long known wisdom amongst security specialists is the notion that "Only amateurs attack machines, professionals attack people."
Directed threats are aimed at you personally or your organization and might involve a lot of different techniques. Attackers will use a mix of social engineering, sophisticated tools like MetaSploit etc.
Directed attacks are a lot more expensive to undertake than undirected ones, as mostly they require more skills and work hours.
One source for directed attacks can be people you know, for example co-workers, your boss, your spouse or friends. They might do so out of curiosity or for worse purposes.
Small measurements might be enough to counter these attacks, like using a password on your computer and locking your screen when leaving your computer unattended.
Also thieves that gained access to your bank account, for example through phishing or spying on unprotected networks, are considered a serious threat to the internet user.
Every regular PC and Internet user should be aware of the common attacks their systems stands to face from use.
Below are the common malicious programs every computer user must be familiar with:
Viruses/Worms- A software program written to disrupt computer systems and to destroy data—viruses are the most well known Internet security threat. They are designed to invade your computer, and copy, damage or delete your data.
Worms—Similar to viruses but much more dangerous. They spread rapidly by accessing your email address book and automatically forwarding themselves to every address it contains. Current anti-virus software can’t find worms once they’ve been loaded onto your system.
TROJAN HORSE -Viruses that pretend to be programs that help you, while destroying your data and damaging your computer.
It is often disguised as a harmless or even desirable program, but is actually designed to cause loss or theft of computer data and to destroy computer systems.
They usually arrive as email attachments or bundled with other software. Some give attackers unrestricted access to your computer anytime you’re online, allowing file transfers, adding or deleting of files and programs, and taking control of your mouse and keyboard.
Spam—Unsolicited promotional email. These e-mails may be in the form of news-letters or advertisements from marketing companies. But they are most nefarious when the mail tells you how lucky you are to have won something.
Phishing—A hoax where Internet criminals send out false emails in the name of a legitimate organization in order to trick victims into sending personal information back to be used in identity theft crimes.
System Monitors—Spyware that observes and captures keystrokes of virtually everything you do on your computer—including passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, emails and chatroom dialogs.
It also monitors the Web sites you’ve visited, and programs you’ve run. They usually run unnoticed, storing the information on your computer in a secret file to be retrieved later by the cybercrriminal orr hacker.
Identity Theft—Occurs when a criminal obtains and uses another individual’s personal information(social security numbers, financial account information, etc.) to use his or her identity for illegal purposes; they then conduct fraudulent activities in the victim’s name.
Spyware—Software that secretly watches and records your online activities or send you endless pop-up ads.
They are designed to collect information about your computer activities, and send these information to others without your knowledge or permission.
Once on your computer, spyware installs itself and starts working. It’s difficult to detect, and often impossible for average users to remove. Types of spyware include tracking cookies, adware, Trojan Horses, and system monitors.
Cookies, pop-ups, and adware-- are tools that track your online behavior, and are used to promote various products.
Many cookies are harmless online information gathering and tracking tools. The majority of adware consists of pop-up ads that are merely unsolicited nuisances.
The problem is that hackers and online criminals are increasingly using cookies and adware to quietly sneak onto your computer and to access your personal information without your knowledge.
Spyware finds its way to your computer through the following means:
-Web sites you browse on the Internet.
-Adware and pop-ups that load onto your computer.
-Results of your Internet searches.
-Unusual e-Commerce sites you visit.
-Software you download onto your computer from the Internet.
-Weaknesses in the operating system software you’re using.
Security: We must secure our computers with technology in the same way that we secure the doors to our offices.
Safety: We must act in ways that protect us against the risks and threats that come with Internet use.
Protect your phone, your ATM (Credit Card), your computers and yourself today.