As per an article by The Hindu, 50,035 cases of cybercrime were reported in 2020, 11.8% more than in 2019 while 60.2% of cybercrimes were of fraud. Every organization or institution has some sort of information or data that needs to be protected.
Organizations invest large sums of money to secure that information and data. Cybercriminals are the individuals who attempt to break the security enforced by organizations to steal their data and information so that they can leverage it for financial gain.
While the network boom and social media interaction has brought the world closer in the last decade, this advent of socializing has also created opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit users’ vulnerabilities through social engineering tactics. Thus, there has been a major shift from network and device-based attacks to social engineering attacks.
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What is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is an act of exploiting human psychology and IT infrastructure to get access to protected and confidential data. This illegal act is typically intended for financial gain. Most businesses are dependent on electronic data and utilize network mediums for transmitting information.
The online medium has become a repository of all personal, business, and financial information. Cybercriminals employ different methods to exploit these repositories to conduct security breaches.
In very simple terms, cybercrime is a crime that is carried out using computers and online networks. The damage incurred by cybercrime is mainly on the finance and data of the target organization. The activities that can be considered cybercrime are gaining unauthorized access to confidential information, private data, business databases, financial details, and devices.
The development of IT infrastructure and ongoing digitization have raised concerns of their very own. The number of devices on the network is increasing every day and with that people’s dependency on them is increasing too. This has created an opportunistic scenario for cybercriminals.
Also, in the last two years, due to the pandemic, many organizations transformed into remote work cultures, which increased the number of users online. This has also contributed to the rise in cybercrimes all over the world.
- According to Forbes, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are led by human error.
- Helpnet Security reported that 88% of the organizations suffered from spear-phishing attacks across the globe.
- As per an article from Reuters, 10% of the data breaches were motivated by espionage while 86% of them were financially motivated.
- According to a report by IBM, $3.86 million is the average cost of a data breach, and the average time to identify it is 207 days. Among them, the most popular was Twitter Breach in which 130 high profiles were targeted and $121,000 was defrauded.
What are the Prominent Types of Cybercrimes?
Majorly, all cybercrimes can be divided into two categories. One is social engineering attacks and the second is online or network attacks. For the sake of convenience and understanding, there are the following types of cybercrimes:
Network or Technical Attacks
These kinds of attacks are based on the technical expertise of the attackers. Examples of these attacks are – Malware, SQL Injection, Cross-site Scripting, DoS (Denial of Service) attack, etc. In these attacks, the malicious actors need to have knowledge and skills related to the network layer or internal architecture of the IT infrastructure. Along with that, they must have knowledge of programming languages and shell scripting.
Social Engineering Attacks
In this kind of attack, the primary target of the threat actors is human beings, who are considered the weakest link in an organization’s security chain. Cybercriminals employ social engineering tactics such as luring, manipulation, baiting, etc. to exploit victims’ lack of awareness and vulnerabilities.
Examples of social engineering attacks are phishing (spear-phishing, pharming, etc.), vishing, smishing, business email compromise, quid pro quo, tailgating, etc. Social engineering attacks have become a leading cause of losses incurred due to cybercrimes. According to an article by Forbes, 98% of the cyberattacks are carried out using social engineering tactics.
Who is a Cybercrime Investigator?
They are highly skilled and trained professionals who carry out investigations in case of cyberattacks. Nowadays, owing to their expertise in solving sophisticated cybercrimes, these individuals are high in demand in both public and private domains.
Many organizations spend huge sums of money to fix hacked systems. The investigators also help identify the exploitable vulnerabilities in an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure before they can be exploited by threat actors.
Although most the cybercrime investigators work for law enforcement and legal departments, there are few who work independently. Apart from that, they are also found in corporate, consultancy businesses, and financial institutions.
There are several white hat hackers who work on a freelance or contract basis. Basically, they are responsible for carrying out penetration testing to exploit vulnerabilities and then provide a report to the organization to strengthen their security.
How to Prevent Cybercrime?
The increasing dependency of businesses on technology has created new opportunities for cybercriminals to expose confidential information. Usually, organizations invest a substantial amount of money and resources to safeguard their data by employing tools and services to enhance the security of their private information.
There are two major aspects of the prevention of cybercrime. One among them is employing tools and technology to make the cyber security infrastructure more robust and secure.
An example of this aspect is using email security or anti-phishing tools for preventing email attacks. The second one involves training and educating the human element. The members of every organization need to be educated in the basics of cyber security.
They need to be made aware of all the kinds of attacks they can face. The objective of security awareness training is to empower the employees so that they become vigilant and prevent social cyber attacks.
How to Report Cybercrime?
There are multiple mechanisms to report cybercrime. In most cases, cybercrimes are reported to the legal authorities of the country. Every country has a department or dedicated organization which administers legal aspects of cyber security infrastructure.
These institutions operate in a framework involving legal structures and policies developed to report various kinds of exploitation. Along with that, many online portals are available where crimes are reported and necessary prevention procedures are initiated.
Cybercrimes are becoming a leading cause of financial losses for organizations around the world. The dependency of people on IT infrastructure and network devices is increasing every day. Such a level of dependency has made people vulnerable and data exposure is quite prevalent.
Cybercriminals carry out different methods to exploit the security and human vulnerabilities to access the data. Organizations should employ tools like TSAT to raise the level of cyber security awareness among employees, making them capable of detecting cyber attack attempts.