Are you wondering how to prevent cybercrime? Cybercrime is no laughing matter. It is such an astronomical problem in our society today that it has now surpassed drug trafficking as an illegal money maker. This is because of the vast numbers of people with Internet connected devices in our world today. Cybercrime, commonly called computer crime, is a any crime whatsoever that involves a computer and network. The computer may have either been the target or involved in the commission of the crime.
Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to help prevent you from becoming the next victim of cybercrime. When it comes to cybercrime, like Internet security in general, an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure
1) Secure your computer
It is crucial to help prevent cybercrime to have reliable, secure and up-to-date Internet security software. At minimum, you should have anti-virus software and a personal firewall.
There is free firewall software available online such as Zone Alarm Free Firewall. In addition to free firewall software available for download online Windows Me, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 all include a free firewall. Just be sure that it is activated.
One more piece of Internet security software I highly recommend is the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This anti-malware software does an excellent job of detecting computer viruses and other malware that anti-virus software sometimes misses. So much so that if you take your computer in to have it cleaned of computer viruses and other malware one of the first things that the IT tech is likely to do is run a full system scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
2) Use Strong Passwords
Visit How To Create Strong Passwords to learn more about creating a strong password.Use different password and username combinations for different accounts and resist the temptation to write them down.
3) 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. It is amazing to see at the number of people whose entire Facebook profile, including full name, date of birth, phone number, all their posts and pictures, etc. is public and indexed by the search engines for anyone to see. That said and done, be careful of what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet it is there forever.
4) 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 as well. There are many free anti-virus apps available for both the iOS and Android operating systems. Android operating systems are particularly acceptable to viruses and other malware but Apple unfortunately contrary to popular belief is not immune to viruses.
Be sure 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.
5) Install the latest operating system updates
It is crucial to help prevent becoming a victim of cybercrime as well as for your Internet security and privacy that you keep your operating system up-to-date. Be sure to have it set to update automatically
6)Protect your data
Protect your data by using encryption for your most sensitive files such financial records and tax returns. It is also crucial that you regularly backup all your important data and store it in another location. Google Drive and Dropbox are two excellent options for backing up your data. Google Drive will give you 15 GB of free storage while Dropbox gives you 2 GB of free storage. Additional storage can be purchased from both services.
7) Secure your wireless (WiFi) network
In the post Wireless (WiFi) Internet Security Tips its covered this in much greater detail.
8) 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.
9) Avoid being scammed
Be wary of clicking on a file or link of unknown origin. A spam email that you have received could contain a file or link that could infect your computer with malware. Worst case scenario, it could give a hacker full control of your computer and/or result in your identity being stolen. Never feel that you have to be pressured by any emails. Be sure to check the source of the email prior to opening and especially before clicking on any links within the email. When in doubt, verify the source. Don’t ever reply to emails that ask you to confirm your username and/or password or verify your personal information. This very likely is a phishing scam which could result you in being the next victim of identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada and the USA.
10) Be wary of online offers that look too good to be true
Supposedly “free” software such as smilies or screen savers, secret investment tricks sure to make you untold fortunes, and contests that you’re surprised to find out you “won” without even entering (imagine that?!?) are more often than not enticing hooks used by companies to grab your attention.While you may not monetarily pay directly for the software or service, this supposed “free” software or service you asked for may be anything but free, containing adware (advertising software) that tracks your online behavior and annoyingly displays advertisements that you do not want to see.
To claim your supposed contest winnings you might have to divulge your personal information or purchase something (that’s really free, isn’t it! not!).The old saying really rings through in this case; if the offer is too good to be true than it probably is. At the very least, before taking any action, ask for the opinion of a person you trust, read through all that fine print. Even better yet, just simply ignore it. You may have to divulge personal information or purchase something else in order to claim your supposed content winnings. If an offer looks so good it’s hard to believe, ask for someone else’s opinion, read the fine print, or even better, simply ignore it.
11) Call the right person for help
It’s easier said then done but try not to panic if you are a victim, encounter illegal online content, such as child exploitation, or if you suspect a cyber crime, identity theft or a commercial scam. Just like any other crime report this to your local police. You can also report the crime to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov.
Additional tips to prevent cybercrime
Here are some additional tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Turn on two-step verification for email, Facebook, etc.
Two step verification is a great way of adding an extra layer of protection to your email, Facebook, etc. With two-step verification, if you are logging into your account from a different IP or device you will be asked to confirm your identity by entering a pass code emailed and/or sent to your phone via text message or actually calling you. This way, even if a hacker somehow gets a hold of your password he will need actual physical access to your other alternative email account and/or cell phone.
This drastically reduces your chances of having your email, Facebook, etc. hacked into. Yahoo Mail, Gmail and Outlook all have the option of activating two-step verification. To activate this feature with Facebook go to Settings, followed by Security and finally clicking on Login Approvals and selecting Require a login code to access my account from unknown browsers.
Install an onscreen keyboard to help prevent keyloggers
It’s highly recommended that you install and use the excellent onscreen keyboard Neo-s Safekeys to help prevent keyloggers as well as screen loggers. This software can be downloaded for free of charge online. With Neo-s Safekeys you actually don’t type in your password or other sensitive personal info such as bank card and credit card numbers but rather use the onscreen keyboard instead. You than drag and drop the password to where you enter your password on the web site you are logging onto.
There is a Standard mode where you simply click onto the letters on the keyboard. For added security and to protect you against screenshot loggers there is a Hover Entry feature where you hover the mouse over the keys on the onscreen keyboard instead of clicking onto them. For further protection against malicious screen loggers there’s the Hidden Mouse and Hover Entry mode. This cool feature replaces the cursor on your computer screen with a small grey dot. Neo’s Safekeys can be downloaded either directly onto your PC or onto a USB thumb drive, the later to use if you are using a public internet terminal, such as in the library, etc.