Cybercrimes are a growing threat all around the world. According to a CSIS report, almost $600 billion (one percent of global GDP) is lost due to cybercrimes, and it is expected that by the end of 2025, more than $10.5 trillion worth of financial damage will be incurred by cyberattacks.
Therefore, businesses need to update their cybersecurity, so they can effectively avoid financial and reputational damages. If you want to implement operative security measures, then you must learn about the different types of internet crimes you are up against. In this guide, you can learn about different types of cybercrimes and protective measures to avoid them.
What Is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime or an online crime is any form of criminal activity conducted through electronic network devices, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. These attacks can target individual users and businesses, alike. The primary agenda behind committing cybercrimes is to make money through ransom or by selling sensitive information to a third party. However, some internet crimes are also committed for personal reasons.
Cybercrime: The Costs and Damage
Cybercrimes are evolving, which is increasing the total amount of damage businesses have to endure due to these attacks. These are the top three ways cybercrime causes harm to its victim:
- Financial Loss: Companies can suffer from extreme financial loss due to cybercrimes, especially if it is victimized by a ransomware attack. In this case, the company has to pay a ransom amount, usually using cryptocurrency, to access their data and pay expenses for patching up the damaged network. Now, ransomware attackers are 57 times more destructive than they were before, making it more important than ever to stay protected.
- Data Breaches: Worldwide, data breaches have increased by 37% since 2022. These security breaches result in significant revenue loss because customers do not wish to provide their details to an unprotected organization. Once the trust is lost, it is very difficult for companies to get the customers back. Moreover, potential customers hesitate to trust a company once its systems have been breached.
- Disruption of Services: All cyberattacks have the potential to cause utility or internet outages. Some even leak or delete sensitive data to damage the company’s infrastructure critically. This results in downtime, leading to a loss in revenue profits.
Types of Cybercrimes
Some of the most common and dangerous online crimes you should learn and look out for are:
Phishing is one of the most common cybercrime examples, as the majority of hackers leverage this approach to steal information. During a phishing attack, hackers impersonate a representative from a reputable company to trick individuals into sharing confidential information, such as bank card credentials, passwords, and account details.
Most phishing attacks are carried out through emails and text messages, which typically contain dangerous links and attachments. The message content emotionally manipulates the reader, provoking fear, curiosity, urgency, and/or greed, to lure the person into clicking on the link and entering personal data.
Hacking is a combination of activities that aim to gain unauthorized access into a computer or virtual network system. Once the hacker has bypassed the security measures and entered the system, they infect it with a virus, and access confidential data to resell or hold for ransom. Unfortunately, this is not the only way to hack into a system.
Hackers use different hacking techniques, including social engineering, password hacking, infecting a device with malware, exploiting wireless connections, and spying on emails, among others.
Cryptojacking is an online threat in which cybercriminals implant themselves in a computer or mobile device. They exploit the user’s computing power to mine cryptocurrency, causing financial damage to the user. The worst part of cryptojacking is that it completely hides the attacker from the user. So unlike other threats, the victim has no idea that a hacker is using their account to mine cryptos.
To perform cryptojacking, hackers first install a cryptojacking software into a person’s computer through phishing. Then, the software starts working in the background and starts mining the cryptocurrency by stealing it from the user’s crypto wallet. The only evidence of this is a slow or lagging computer system.
Spoofing is a type of scam in which the attacker disguises their real identity and presents themselves as a trusted entity. They use email, phone calls, social media profiles, and ads to prove their authenticity. For example, a user will receive an email requesting private information that would appear as a file sent by a colleague or a company representative.
Therefore, never share any important information without ensuring the sender’s real identity. You should also avoid clicking on random links sent through emails, as they can transfer your data to malicious parties.
Ransomware is malware that uses asymmetric encryption to attack a computer system and locks all the files within. Once the files are encrypted, cybercriminals demand a ransom from the victim in exchange for decrypting their files. It is impossible to decrypt the file by yourself as the decryption key is privately generated on the attacker’s server.
In this situation, companies have no choice but to pay the ransom amount to regain data access. However, most organizations use managed security services to create data backup. As a result, victims don’t have to pay the ransom amount because they can retrieve data from the backup.
6. Cross-Site Scripting
Cross-site scripting, also known as XSS, is a client-side code that injects web security vulnerability. It allows attackers to install malware on a credible website or application. When the user opens an infected app or website, the malware allows the hacker to obtain complete control over the user’s online session to steal their login credentials. This is later utilized to harvest valuable data.
XSS attackers are classified into three types, which are:
Persistent XSS: Also known as a stored XSS attack, steals cookies to gain personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and other confidential details.
Non-Persistent XSS: Also known as a reflected XSS attack, it is activated when the user clicks on a specific link within the infected site or application. Once the attack is activated, it executes a malicious code script on the user’s browser. Then, it copies the sensitive data and sends it back to the attacker.
7. Identity Theft
Identity theft is a fraudulent activity that is used by cybercriminals to steal an individual’s personal identity-related information, such as social security numbers, identification numbers, bank details, and credit card details. Cybercriminals obtain this information through identity fraud, stolen hard drives, computer hacking, emails, text messages, and public records.
After getting hold of this information, the cybercriminal impersonates that person by making unauthorized transactions or purchases. Identity theft is mainly carried out to access the victim’s financial assets. However, some attacks are also carried out to hurt the victim’s reputation.
8. Accounts Payable Fraud
Accounts payable fraud is a type of scamming in which the scammer impersonates a company’s vendor, requesting payment for specific products or services. These frauds are mainly targeted toward small and medium businesses, as it is easier to pose as an employee and request payment on behalf of the company.
Moreover, some scammers even create false invoices that appear legitimate to support their fraud. They also tamper checks and present expense reimbursement schemes to gain monetary benefits. Therefore, you need to use multiple checkpoints for invoice billing to reduce the risk of accounts payable fraud.
Malware is a specific software that gains unauthorized access into a computer device or virtual network to disrupt, damage, or steal the files stored within. Some types of malware are very difficult to detect because they disguise themselves as legitimate software programs. Common types of malware are:
- Trojan Horse
- Fileless malware
To stop malware breaches, you can protect your business using preventive security tools, such as firewalls. You also need visibility and breach detection tools to detect malware if it has infiltrated your company’s database.
10. Social Engineering
Social engineering is a centralized manipulative tactic that helps hackers to convince a person to share their confidential information. During this attack, hackers can use emails or text messages to pose as fellow workers and request passwords and PIN numbers. Hackers can also gain access to a company’s secrets and intellectual property.
The social engineering attacks are conducted for two reasons:
- Cause harm to an organization by disrupting or corrupting their data
- Access valuable information to earn money
11. IoT Hacking
IoT hacking or IoT attacks are launched on Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These devices are created from advanced technology that enables the user to connect computer devices to the internet and collect information from the physical environment through sensors. After the data is collected, it is transferred to the base station.
During IoT hacking, attackers enter the base station by accessing the information transfer route. Once they have access to the base station, hackers can easily collect sensitive data and install malware to harm the company’s database.
12. Software Piracy
Software piracy involves stealing legally protected software by illegally copying a program from a computer to make one or several copies. These copies are used personally or sold without paying for the copyrights. Software piracy is a clear violation of copyright and license restrictions laws.
If you are using pirated software, it will affect your company’s profits and revenue. This is because it negatively affects your brand reputation and image. Moreover, if you are found guilty, your company will be fined up to $150,000 in penalty. You might even be charged with five years in prison for engaging in a software piracy felony.
13. Trojan Horses
Trojan Horse is a virus program that appears harmless in appearance and automatically downloads on your computer without permission. It is a digital pest that is designed to disrupt the victim’s files. It records keyboard stokes to read passwords, allowing it to access every file and data contained in the computer.
Trojan viruses cannot replicate like other computer viruses and worms. However, once it spreads in a server, it holds the server, hostage, by deleting, blocking, modifying, corrupting, and copying data. As a result, the performance of a computer and its networks is greatly disrupted.
Eavesdropping is the act of secretly listening or intercepting private communication between two parties in real-time. To do this, hackers find a system that does not use encryption for real-time communication. These individuals place a bug or use technological tools to intercept, modify, or delete data that is transmitted through phone calls, instant messages, fax transmission, and videoconference.
If an eavesdropping attack is launched on your company’s system, it can result in the loss of sensitive information, identity theft, and customer privacy violation. This can lead to financial and brand reputation loss.
Distributed denial-of-service or DDoS is a cyberattack on a company’s system. During this malicious act, hackers disrupt the normal network traffic by flooding it with synthetically generated traffic. This false traffic clogs the virtual pathways, preventing regular visitors from accessing and using the website or an application.
DDoS attacks are used to negatively affect a company’s revenue. Once the servers are down, users cannot buy products or services for a specific amount of time, reducing profits and earnings. DDoS attacks can also steal data (instead of destroying it) for extortion purposes.
An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a prolonged cyberattack campaign that is targeted toward an organization’s network to gain unauthorized access. To gain entry, attackers use spear phishing emails that contain malware software. This software locates vulnerabilities in the security and exploits them to enter and infect the system.
After it is inside the system, it creates backdoors and tunnels to move without detection. The APT keeps collecting login credentials to obtain administrative rights. Once it can access all data stored in the network, it encrypts and compresses the data, forwarding it to the hacker.
17. Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is a spamming activity that is used by marketers to increase their website ranking on the search engine result page. The black hat SEO practices violate the terms and conditions issued by search engines, such as Google and Bing. If you are found guilty of these activities, the search engine will ban your website as a penalty.
The typical black hat SEO techniques include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Invisible text publishing
- Private link network usage
A botnet is a network of malware-infected, internet-connected devices that are being controlled by a single attacking party. The term botnet is the combination of a robot and a network. This is because an assembly or robot is used in the system infiltration stage. These bots automate mass attacks, which consist of data theft, server crashing, and malware distribution.
After distribution, the bots disrupt your network and scam your customers by allowing hackers to launch large attacks. Some attackers also use bot herds that can carry out remote commands. Once your network is completely under the bots’ influence, it mindlessly operates commands issued by the bot herds.
How to Prevent Cybercrime and Defend Against It?
Online crimes are spreading rapidly and attacking companies around the world. However, you can ensure the prevention of cybercrimes by:
- Using strong passwords
- Updating security software
- Securing internet connection
- Using a full-service internet security suite
- Managing social media settings to secure private information
- Learning about new types of security breaches
To protect your company’s network, sensitive data, and brand reputation, you need to make sure that your knowledge of cybercrimes is up to date. Otherwise, you can fall victim to different internet crimes that can immensely damage your company. You can also use cybersecurity compliance and managed security services from CXI Solutions to ensure your systems are strong enough to defend against all types of cyberattacks. This will help you stop cyberattacks before they can infiltrate your database and steal sensitive information.