Every day we hear about phishing, spyware, malware, and more. But what are they, exactly? And what do they mean for you and your hard-earned bucks?
Cybercrime is described as any crime that is committed using a computer network or hardware device. Cybercriminals use hacked information to find gaps in personal or business details to wangle their way into accounts and data that matter.
Common types of cybercrime include hacking, online scams and fraud, identity theft, attacks on computer systems and illegal or prohibited online content. The effects of cybercrime can be really upsetting for victims, and not necessarily just because it threatens their cash, but potentially their reputation too.
While some people consider cybercrime petty and not worth the expense and resources needed to stop it, the reality is that cybercrime is on the up and up. The annual damage to the global economy is at a giant $445-billion, while on home soil, 84% of adults who’re online have already been victims of cybercrime, and a massive 74% of these have experienced cybercrime in the past year2. The numbers don’t lie.
Wynand van Vuuren, spokesperson at King Price, breaks it down.
The KP cybercrime dictionary
Hackers: “These are the guys on the other side of the screen, orchestrating the cybercrime. They’re not all antisocial teenagers locked in their bedrooms; they come in all shapes and sizes and are probably half-way around the world,” says van Vuuren.
And now, with kids learning coding in school, the definition of ‘hacker’ is changing. It’s slowly becoming a good name. Lots of coders are becoming ethical or white-hat hackers, helping business find the soft spots in their networks to patch them up. ‘Hacktivists’ are the ones who have an ethical or political point to make, so they’ll down a bank’s website, or hack a politician’s Twitter page, but won’t target individuals for personal financial gain.
A Virus: Hackers will look for flaws in a web browser, then place a Trojan horse virus onto the unprotected victim’s computer, and sometimes the victim accidentally downloads it by clicking on a weird link. The virus then installs a keystroke logger on their machine… That means the hacker can ‘see’ private data like passwords. “This is one of the most common and dangerous types of cybercrime we’re seeing right now,” says van Vuuren.
Phishing: Unfortunately this works because you, the user, volunteered your information to a non-trustworthy source, all the while thinking that you were just logging into one of your accounts. Phishing usually takes the form of a fake email that looks like it comes from your bank or credit card company, or other retail/ financial business. Even if you don’t use email, you can still become a phishing scam victim by visiting a website that’s not what it seems. “Keep your eyes peeled for spelling errors and strange branding, and always notify the company that’s being impersonated,” advises van Vuuren.
Ransomware: This is a sophisticated piece of malware (any piece of software with malicious intent, including spyware, worms, and viruses) that blocks the victim’s access to their files, and the only way to regain access to the files is to pay a ransom. “Businesses are commonly affected where hackers use ransomware to extort money. They’ll lock and encrypt files, making them inaccessible until you pay up. It can bring businesses down to their knees if they don’t have decent back up,” says van Vuuren.
“Today, businesses want to hear about innovative new approaches to cybersecurity and privacy… Not the same-old-same-old about investing into IT training and cloud computing. Businesses are thinking more broadly about cybersecurity, the importance of customer privacy, and third-party partners. That’s where we come in,” says van Vuuren.
King Price has launched cybersure: Cyber insurance that covers a business’ cyber liability and cybercrime, data breach expenses, damage to computer systems and data, associated loss of income, and more. This will be followed by a personal cyber insurance product, early in 2018.