Introduction to Cybercrime:
Cybercriminals use the internet and computer technology to hack user’s personal computers, smartphone data, personal details from social media, business secrets, national secrets etc. Criminals who perform these illegal activities through the internet are called – Hackers. Though law enforcement agencies are trying to tackle this problem, it is growing regularly and many people have become victims of identity theft, hacking and malicious software. One of the best ways to stop these criminals and protect sensitive information is by making use of inscrutable security that uses a unified system of software and hardware to authenticate any information that is accessed over the Internet. Let’s find out more about cyber crimes.
Cyber crime is the latest and perhaps the most complicated problem in the cyber world. “Cyber crime may be said to be those species, of which, genus is the conventional crime, and where either the computer is an object or subject of the conduct constituting crime”. “Any criminal activity that uses a computer either as an instrumentality, target or a means for perpetuating further crimes comes within the ambit of cyber crime”
A generalised definition of cyber crime may be ” unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or target or both” The computer may be used as a tool in the following kinds of activity: financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, pornography, online gambling, intellectual property crime, e-mail spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, cyber stalking. The computer may however be target for unlawful acts in the following cases- unauthorized access to computers / computer systems / computer networks, theft of information contained in the electronic form, e-mail bombing, data diddling, salami attacks, logic bombs, Trojan attacks, internet time thefts, web jacking, theft of computer system, physically damaging the computer system.
Types of Cyber Crimes
When any crime is committed over the Internet it is referred to as a cyber crime. There are many types of cyber crimes and the most common ones are explained below:
Hacking: This is a type of crime wherein a person’s computer is broken into so that his personal or sensitive information can be accessed. In the United States, hacking is classified as a felony and punishable as such. This is different from ethical hacking, which many organizations use to check their Internet security protection. In hacking, the criminal uses a variety of software to enter a person’s computer and the person may not be aware that his computer is being accessed from a remote location.
Theft: This crime occurs when a person violates copyrights and downloads music, movies, games and software. There are even peer sharing websites which encourage software piracy and many of these websites are now being targeted by the FBI. Today, the justice system is addressing this cyber crime and there are laws that prevent people from illegal downloading.
Cyber Stalking: This is a kind of online harassment wherein the victim is subjected to a barrage of online messages and emails. Typically, these stalkers know their victims and instead of resorting to offline stalking, they use the Internet to stalk. However, if they notice that cyber stalking is not having the desired effect, they begin offline stalking along with cyber stalking to make the victims’ lives more miserable.
Identity Theft: This has become a major problem with people using the Internet for cash transactions and banking services. In this cyber crime, a criminal accesses data about a person’s bank account, credit cards, Social Security, debit card and other sensitive information to siphon money or to buy things online in the victim’s name. It can result in major financial losses for the victim and even spoil the victim’s credit history.
Malicious Software: These are Internet-based software or programs that are used to disrupt a network. The software is used to gain access to a system to steal sensitive information or data or causing damage to software present in the system.
Child soliciting and Abuse: This is also a type of cyber crime wherein criminals solicit minors via chat rooms for the purpose of child pornography. The FBI has been spending a lot of time monitoring chat rooms frequented by children with the hopes of reducing and preventing child abuse and soliciting.
Causes of Cybercrime:
Cybercriminals always opt for an easy way to make big money. They target rich people or rich organizations like banks, casinos and financial firms where a huge amount of money flows daily and hack sensitive information. Catching such criminals is difficult. Hence, that increases the number of cyber-crimes across the globe. Computers are vulnerable, so laws are required to protect and safeguard them against cybercriminals. We could list the following reasons for the vulnerability of computers:
- Easy to access – The problem behind safeguarding a computer system from unauthorized access is that there are many possibilities of breach due to the complex technology. Hackers can steal access codes, retina images, advanced voice recorders etc. that can fool biometric systems easily and bypass firewalls can be utilized to get past many security systems.
- Capacity to store data in comparatively small space – The computer has the unique characteristic of storing data in a very small space. This makes it a lot easier for the people to steal data from any other storage and use it for own profit.
- Complex – The computers run on operating systems and these operating systems are programmed of millions of codes. The human mind is imperfect, so they can do mistakes at any stage. The cybercriminals take advantage of these gaps.
- Negligence – Negligence is one of the characteristics of human conduct. So, there may be a possibility that protecting the computer system we may make any negligence which provides a cyber-criminal the access and control over the computer system.
- Loss of evidence – The data related to the crime can be easily destroyed. So, Loss of evidence has become a very common & obvious problem which paralyzes the system behind the investigation of cyber-crime.
How to tackle CyberCrime?
To tackle cybercrime effectively, establish multidimensional public-private collaborations between law enforcement agencies, the information technology industry, information security organizations, internet companies, and financial institutions. Unlike the real world, Cybercriminals do not fight one another for supremacy or control. Instead, they work together to improve their skills and even help out each other with new opportunities. Hence, the usual methods of fighting crime cannot be used against cybercriminals.
The best way to go about is by using the solutions provided by Cross-Domain Solutions. This allows organizations to use a unified system comprising of software and hardware that authenticates both manual and automatic transfer and access to information when it takes places between different security classification levels. This allows seamless sharing and access of information within a specific security classification, but cannot be intercepted by or advertently revealed to the user who is not part of the security classification. This helps to keep the network and the systems using the network safe.
- Use Strong Passwords: Maintain different password and username combinations for each account and resist the temptation to write them down. Weak passwords can be easily cracked using certain attacking methods like Brute force attack, Rainbow table attack etc. The following precautions can be taken to avoid your password getting hacked.
- Using keyboard patterns for passwords. e.g. – qwertyui
- Using easy combinations. e.g. – Raju1990, Feb1990
- Using Default passwords. e.g. – Welcome123, Ravi123
- Keeping password same as the username. e.g. – Raju/Raju
- Be social media savvy: Be sure to keep your social networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) are set to private. Be sure to check your security settings. Be careful of what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet it is there forever.
- Secure your Mobile Devices: Many people are not aware that their mobile devices are also vulnerable to malicious software, such as computer viruses and hackers. Be sure to download applications only from trusted sources. It is also crucial that you keep your operating system up-to-date. Be sure to install anti-virus software and to use a secure lock screen as well. Otherwise, anyone can access all your personal information on your phone if you misplace it or even set it down for a few moments. Someone could even install malicious software that could track your every movement through your GPS.
- Protect your data: Protect your data by using encryption for your most sensitive files such as financial records and tax returns.
- Protect your identity online: When it comes to protecting your identity online it is better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. It is critical that you be cautious when giving out personal ID such as your name, address, phone number and/or financial information on the Internet. Be certain to make sure websites are secure when making online purchases, etc. This includes enabling your privacy settings when using/accessing social networking sites.
- Keep your computer current with the latest patches and updates: One of the best ways to keep attackers away from your computer is to apply patches and other software fixes when they become available. By regularly updating your computer, you block attackers from being able to take advantage of software flaws (vulnerabilities) that they could otherwise use to break into your system.
- Protect your computer with security software: Several types of security software are necessary for basic online security. Security software essentials include firewall and antivirus programs. A firewall is usually your computer’s first line of defense. It controls who and what can communicate with your computer online. You could think of a firewall as a sort of “policeman” that watches all the data attempting to flow in and out of your computer on the Internet, allowing communications that it knows are safe and blocking “bad” traffic such as attacks from ever reaching your computer.
- Call the right person for help: Try not to panic if you are a victim. If you encounter illegal online content, such as child exploitation, or if you suspect a cybercrime, identity theft or a commercial scam, just like any other crime report this to your local police. There are many websites to get help on cybercrime. To name a few https://digitalpolice.gov.in, http://www.cybercrimehelpline.com
Cybercrime against Individuals
A major problem of cybercrime against individual can take place towards different types of people such as cybercrime against children, cybercrime against consumers and cybercrime against normal users. It is clear that cybercrime against children is the most significant issue which should be focused on. One of the main areas of cybercrime is child pornography, which is the documented sexual abuse of children, however this excludes pseudo-photographs or computer generated items such as images, drawing, cartoons and painting (Akdentiz, 2008:4).
Newville (2001) points out that the internet has authorized to child pornography by offering offenders many ways of swapping information without restraint and giving them a chance of learning and improving skills illegally. Thus, under a high activity by predators of finding open contacts with young victims such as teenagers, a rise in the number of children who use the internet and spread child pornography that cause a serious threat to the safety of children. There are several ways that predators used to meet their young victims in public place and one of the common ways is chartrooms (Medaris and Girouard, 2002)
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