Cybercrime Awareness: Causes, Effects & Prevention Tips !

By Rotimi Onadipe

Cybercrime refers to any illegal activity carried out with the use of technology. e.g. computer or internet. Cybercrime attacks can be on individuals, corporations or governments.

In this digital age, cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated everyday and the prevalence of cybercrime has caused incalculable damages to the society and the world at large.

With the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT), cybercriminals have developed new strategies to carry out their nefarious activities.

As more electronic gadgets e.g. air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines etc go online, they open more vulnerabilities to cyber attacks. According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $6 trillion a year by 2021.

In order to overcome the dangers attributed to cybercrime, all internet users need vital information about the causes, effects and prevention tips on cybercrime.

Here are some common types of cybercrime:
Hacking: It refers to any unauthorized access of a computer system or network.

Identity theft: is a crime that involves the theft of personal or sensitive information.

Phishing: is a technique of extracting personal or sensitive information from an individual, company, government etc through illegal means.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) : is a cyber attack in which a website or server is overloaded with traffic in order to disrupt the regular activities.

Spoofing: is an act of getting a computer system, device or network to pretend to have the identity of another computer.

Computer virus attack: is the use of virus to gain unauthorized access to computers, networks or systems in order to steal sensitive data.

Social engineering: is a crime in which cybercriminals contact an unsuspecting victim or company in order to get personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes.

Cyberbullying: is the use of technology to harass, threaten or embarrass another person.

Spamming: is the sending of unsolicited messages to large number of people for commercial, non commercial or fraudulent purposes.

Causes of cybercrime:
1. Ignorance: Lack of proper knowledge about the common tricks used by cybercriminals.

2. Lack of moral education: Lack of moral education makes it easy for people to engage in cybercrime without considering the negative impacts.

3. Use of fake softwares: Most internet users install fake softwares on their computers and this makes their computers to be vulnerable.

4. Frequent posting of sensitive and personal information online. e.g. pictures of previous achievements, travel plans, status etc

5. Lack of various awareness programs to sensitise the general public on the dangers and lasting solutions to cybercrime.

6. Negligence: Most internet users don't install all the necessary programs that will protect them against cyber attacks.

7. Victims' ignorance: Most unsuspecting victims of cybercrime ignorantly share links with malicious attachments to other internet users.

8. Lack of special internet safety education for young children and elderly people: Most young children and elderly people are the targets of cybercriminals because they are gullible.

9. Lack of counseling and rehabilitation centers for cybercriminals: Convicted cybercriminals don't have a place to go for proper counseling and rehabilitation after coming out of correctional centers (formally referred to as prisons)

10. Advancement of technology: Emergence of new technologies, particularly the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) has opened more vulnerabilities to cyber attacks.

Effects of cybercrime in the society:
1. Damage to the reputation of companies and organisations.

2. Loss of personal and sensitive information.
3. Damage to computer or network.
4. It may ruin a company, particularly when ransom is paid to hackers to unlock some computers.

5. Most victims suffer depression after losing huge sums of money to cybercriminals.

6. Many victims of cybercrime have attempted suicide, particularly those who borrowed money from banks.

7. It discourages investment, particularly from foreign countries.

8. Loss of intellectual property.
9. Most cybercriminals spend most of their lives in correctional centers (formally referred to as prisons) after being prosecuted.

10. Loss of clients due to lack of public confidence in the security system.

Cybercrime Prevention Tips:
1. All internet and non internet users should be educated about Internet Safety.

2. Keep softwares and operating systems updated.
3. Use strong password. A long password of at least 14 characters that is created with letters, numbers and special characters is not easy to guess.

4. Keep all personal and sensitive information private and avoid keeping them on social media.

5. Educate young children and the elderly specially on internet safety because they are the most vulnerable to cyber attacks.

6. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments if you are not sure of the source.

7. Always investigate the authenticity of a website before you visit it.

8. Avoid pop-ups that asks you to validate your information.

9. Always have regular backups because there may be need for you to restore data.

10. Always use anti-virus software and keep it updated.

Rotimi Onadipe Tel: +234-8169121819 Email: [email protected]