March 2021

While it can sometimes be hard to recognize if you’ve been the victim of a cybercrime, some crimes do leave clear signs:

Malware infection: Your machine might start running slowly and sending you various error messages.

Phishing or pharming attack: You’ll find suspicious charges on your credit card or other compromised accounts.

Keylogger: You may see strange icons or your messages might start adding duplicate text.

Botnet: If your computer becomes involved in a botnet, it may be hard to recognize at all.

Crytojacking: You’ll see increased electric bills.

The impacts of cybercrime can be devastating due to the high risk of data loss and financial impact.

For individuals

Data breaches, identity theft, problems with devices: cybercrime can have a big impact on individuals.

You might find yourself dealing with suspicious charges on your credit card as a result of identity theft, a ransomware attack demanding hundreds or thousands in blackmail to release your files or expensive fees in data or electricity from cryptojacking or botnets.

The costs can be worse than monetary when cyberbullying, including sexual harassment, is plaguing you.

In the 1980s, the advent of email brought with it phishing scams and malware delivered through attachments. By the 1990s, web browsers had become commonplace, along with computer viruses.

The widespread adoption of social media in the 2000s only increased cybercrime, and especially data theft, due to the nature of these platforms.

During the past ten years, malware infections and data theft have increased dramatically, and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

As an everyday user of computers and mobile devices, how are you most likely to encounter cybercrime?

Whenever you hear the words “cybercriminal” or “hacker,” what image comes to mind?

Is it a sketchy guy, perhaps wearing a dark hoodie, camped out in a dark basement somewhere, typing away furiously?

Cybercrime is incredibly organized and professionalized.

Cybercriminals buy and sell malware online (generally on the dark web) while also trading in services that test how robust a virus is, business intelligence dashboards to track malware deployment, and tech support (that’s right — crooks can contact a criminal helpline to troubleshoot their illegal hacking server or other malfeasance!).