The Effects of Cybercrime

When you purchase a home it comes with a door and a lock. You always will make sure that the door/lock exist and that the lock is working properly. If you want you can aim to further secure your home against any threats. You may purchase a new security system, an additional lock or maybe even a pet dog for added safety. Why would you not secure your investment? Would you invite criminals to use your home to commit additional crimes wherever he/she pleases?

When it comes to your PC or Network, you need to ask yourself the following questions.

  • Would you like to have yourself, organization, corporation or business responsible for cyber-crime, without you knowing?

  • Would you like to be prosecuted for something you did not do?

  • Would you like to be sued for privacy violations?

  • Would you like to be the base of operations for major crime?

  • Would you like to become another survey statistic?

  • Would you like to lose clients due to lack of public confidence in your Information Technology system?

  • Would you like to be the victum?

So how are criminals committing the crimes?

Tools of the Trade

  • Wireless networking technology poses the biggest problem, as an unsecured network can be hacked from someone outside using a simple radio antenna, PDA or cell phone.

  • Password Crackers (Software designed to decrypt passwords, so they can gain access)

  • Network Scanning software that looks for open ports to gain access to a network (software or hardware based)

  • Illegitimate Websites (fake URLs), to lure you into giving information over the web or even hack an un-patched (updated) system

  • SPAM (used to get email lists to possibly cause more damage)

What are general reasons, for hacking, by cyber-criminals?

  • Gathering Trophies (quest to become famous)

  • General Mischief

  • Financial Gain

  • Revenge

  • Protest

  • Criminal activity

  • Identity Theft

  • Forging Documents and Messages

In the same fashion, computer viruses that can generate havoc on your PC system are just as criminal. Viruses can cost companies millions and dollars in time to repair an infected system. Recently, Microsoft went as far as to post a $250,000 bounty for the writers of the MSBlast worm and the SoBig.F virus. Organizations such as Interpol now have sections of their website devoted to cyber-crime, with other websites such as the IFCC “Internet Fraud Complaint Center” specializing in Internet Crime.

In General, computer viruses can be transferred to an unsuspecting PC through a variety of formats. Viruses can appear through e-mail, infected software, diskettes, infected CD/DVD discs or computer documents. Furthermore, if you do not run regular Microsoft Windows updates, even regular Internet web browsing can cause major problems, through known security exploits in your Operating System. An unsuspecting user can open what they think is a legitimate webpage, however then end up downloading a virus or allowing access to their PC by a hacker. Viruses are showing up on a weekly basis. Your Anti-virus software, security applications or Windows Operating System is only as good as its last update. To get complete protection, you must regularly update with the latest virus definition files, scanning engines, patches and fixes.

Prevention is always better then hours of frustration and lost data. Some of the main ways to ensure your PC is protected from malicious computer viruses are as follows.

  • Refrain from opening e-mail and e-mail attachments from individuals you do not know.

  • DO NOT execute .EXE or unknown files directly from your e-mail.

  • Look at purchasing Anti-virus and security software and have it updated on at least a weekly basis.

  • Have ALL diskettes scanned by virus-scanning software before inserted on your PC.

  • Secure your Internet Web browsing.

  • Make sure you have a regular backup, in case you need to restore data.

  • Make sure you test the integrity of your backup.

  • Run regular Microsoft Windows Updates on your PC.

  • If you have high-speed (broadband) Internet access in your office, think about getting either a hardware or software firewall to protect your computer system.

  • If you run a “Wireless Network” you must take time to secure it and understand how it works.

  • Take time to learn more about how your PC functions and how to take care of it.

  • Just like taking care of your vehicle, keeping your PC healthy requires a little bit of basic maintenance.

  • Take some time to research for tips on PC maintenance from websites such as http://www.pcworld.com, http://www.microsoft.com or http://www.zdnet.com.

Hopefully, the information provided above will aid in protecting your PC from unwanted computer viruses, and PC problems that can harm hardware, software and productivity. The bottom line is that if you have a virus or if your computer has been hacked, you are no longer in control of your PC. If viruses, hackers or criminals destroy nothing else, they destroy your confidence in your PC or network, which is something that is quite valuable.

November 17, 2010 / Posted by Manuel James @ 11:00 am

Technology | Tips & Information

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