Despite the fact that corporations invested about $40 billion USD in cybersecurity in 2019, nearly 80% of all organizations were hacked by at least one successful cyberattack. Customer financial and personal data was taken in these assaults, causing substantial consequences for consumers all around the world.
The eCommerce industry is one of the primary channels via which hackers target people. Because consumers must enter their credit card information in order to make purchases, they frequently expose themselves to targeted because their information is now stored with that eCommerce website. While many websites are secure, it only takes one website to be hacked for your information to be revealed.
In 2020, eCommerce sites reported a 50% increase in the number of occurrences when credit card information was stolen. eCommerce fraud is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2021, illustrating the extent to which this type of cybercrime is affecting the sector.
But what is cybercrime, and how does it happen? In this post, we’ll look at the recent history of cybercrime, explaining the main types of crime that occur and pointing out how to protect oneself online.
Why does digital crime occur?
The method and reason for cybercrime can vary incredibly. While one hacker may target businesses and attempt to steal their customer’s financial data, another hacker may directly target users and try and find out their personal information for identity theft. As more and more people use the internet every single day for online shopping, these forms of crime have become incredibly common.
Technically, cybercrime falls into six categories, ranging from stealing data to illegal gambling and copyright infringement. No matter which form of digital crime is occurring, they typically all come back down to the same few reasons – monetary gain.
In 2021 alone, the estimated amount of money that was lost due to cybercrime was $6 trillion USD. This figure represents the diversity and extent of cybercrime, with trillions of dollars being lost every single year. This figure is also predicted to rise by 15% every year, reaching a total of $10.5 trillion by 2025.
How does digital crime happen?
Understanding the financial motivations behind most cybercrime reveals the reason but does little to explain the methods. Existing online generates a range of different avenues that hackers could target if they wanted to find someone’s personal or business data. This range of potential access points is known as an attack surface.
As the internet becomes increasingly complicated, with people signing up to new websites, services, and applications every day, everyone’s attack surface increases, making it easier for them to fall victim to exploitation.
Typically, cybercriminals target businesses and individuals through three different general methods. These are:
- Ransomware – Often linked to phishing, ransomware is where a criminal will infect a user’s computer with software that locks the system. It will then take control of all accounts and data on the system. Criminals will then ransom the system back to the user for a fixed amount of money.
- Phishing – Phishing is the process of tricking users into giving away their information by navigating to a false website or through a malicious URL. These generally come through emails, with addresses that very closely resemble someone’s actual email. A user will follow the instructions on this website and then accidentally give away their personal data, which can be used to take control of their financial accounts.
- Malware – Malware is when software or hidden systems are injected into the ecosystem through which a user browses, either directly onto their browser or onto their computer. This then starts to farm their information, even having the potential to keylog someone to track the passwords they enter into their computer. Over time, a hacker will collect information on a user through the injected malware and then use that to either scam, hold at ransom, or steal financial or personal data from a user.
While there are other forms of cybercrime, these are the three most common methods, each of which results in trillions of dollars lost to cyber criminals each year. Due to the average internet user having an incredibly large attack surface, there are plenty of ways that hackers can obtain personal and financial information.
How can I prevent crime?
As cybercrime continues to rise, more and more technical solutions are springing up in order to help users defend themselves. In fact, in 2017, the concept of Two-Step Verification was rolled out, which helped users make sure that only they could assess their account. This feature was quickly adopted into the majority of financial applications and was seen all over the internet.
However, in the last five years, even more strides have been made to ensure users’ safety online. These new methods go far beyond just advising users to create a strong password.
We’ll be discussing:
- Antivirus software
- Browser-Based Defenses
- Internet Education
Let’s touch on these.
In 2022, there are a huge range of antivirus programs that a user can install onto their computer. These conduct a range of features like system scans and background scanning in order to determine if a computer that a user is navigating on currently has a virus on it. If one is detected, the software will then work to eliminate the virus before it can cause any additional harm.
While there are huge names in the antivirus industry, many viruses can now mutate their code to ensure that they go undetected by antiviruses. While this defeats the purpose of much of the software, they still provide firewalls that reduce the chance of someone’s computer contracting a virus.
It’s always a good idea to investigate antiviruses and look into getting one on your computer system.
The introduction of browser-based defensive mechanisms is a more recent yet extremely significant advance in cybersecurity. Given that the bulk of internet data breaches occur within the browser, a user can greatly protect themselves by having a defense mechanism immediately in this region.
Companies such as Guardio have released in-browser security technologies in recent years. These are extensive security safeguards that monitor the browser, read links, and prevent harmful URLs or websites from launching. As the software constantly monitors and guides the user, this helps people stay safe online.
These browser-based technologies will help users get back on track with their online safety by screening on a regular basis. Given that these browser-based protections are typically absolutely free Google Chrome extensions, this is also the simplest and least expensive option to defend oneself online.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects your data online by making your connection private. Instead of browsing on public WiFi and inputting your credentials and passwords on a potentially compromised connection, these systems ensure that your connection is secure.
VPNs, in essence, create a data tunnel between a place and your local network, which you use to surf. Instead of making this connection entirely public (which could expose you), a VPN encrypts it and makes it private. This ensures that no one may access your data while you browse the web.
VPNs are frequently a relatively low-cost security solution, with monthly membership payments assuring that no one other than you has access to your data.
Educating yourself is one of the most generally neglected strategies to protect oneself online. Given that several hacking companies rely on phishing, which is only possible due to human error on the part of the user in accessing a site they shouldn’t have, education addresses a lot of problems.
It is always worthwhile to take the effort to learn more about certain risks and to invest in internet defensive measures. You’ll be able to defend yourself manually from a wide range of internet risks if you understand how to assess if a website is fraudulent or which links are trustworthy.
It’s usually a good idea to examine the legitimacy of a site before putting your credit card data into an eCommerce website, especially when it comes to entering your credit card details.
Final Thoughts on Digital Safety
The risk of falling victim to cybercrime is bigger than ever during the holiday season, when individuals throng to eCommerce sites to buy gifts for loved ones. As Valentine’s Day approaches in February, users should employ a variety of protective techniques to keep secure online.
You may better protect yourself when browsing the internet by knowing more about cyber risks and downloading an antivirus or a browser-defense system. Because there are so many resources available online right now, you’ll be able to put up defensive systems that activate as you browse. These will inform you if you have inadvertently clicked on a website that does not appear legitimate, assisting in the protection of your data.
Given the all-time highs in cybercrime expected in 2022, the sooner you start protecting yourself, the better.