The 5 Most Common Types of Cybercrime in 2022 - And How to Defend Yourself by@brianwallace

The 5 Most Common Types of Cybercrime in 2022 - And How to Defend Yourself

Over 240,000 successful instances of phishing attacks were reported to the FBI last year. Over 100,000 people have experienced non-payment or non-delivery cybercrime. The FBI's latest cybersecurity report reveals the most common types of cybercrime are phishing and extortion attacks. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid infecting your system with ransomware and avoid clicking on unknown links or opening unexpected attachments. Personal data breaches tallied in at just over 45,000 breaches last year, the FBI says.
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Brian Wallace

Founder @ NowSourcing | Contributor at Hackernoon | Advisor: Google Small Biz, SXSW

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Over the last two years, cybercrime has been booming.

Some types of attacks increased by as much as 600% during the first
three months of the pandemic alone. And 2021 saw another
50% rise
of cyberattacks on company networks on a
weekly basis.

The range of what constitutes cybercrime is wide, though. From
ransomware to dating site fraud, there is a huge variety of ways
criminals take advantage of our increasingly online lives.

But which are the most common ones? What do you need to pay the most
attention to? And how do you protect yourself from them?

Here’s the run-down, based on the FBI’s latest cybersecurity report.


Phishing Attacks

The single most common type of cyberattacks are still phishing
attacks. Over 240,000 successful instances were reported to the FBI
last year.

By definition, phishing means that cybercriminals send you
unsolicited emails and text messages, pretending to be a person or
business you know, and extracting personal information, money, or
login credentials.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, phishing messages related to the pandemic
boomed. From WHO advice to government checks, cybercriminals homed in on people’s anxieties and weak spots.

One phishing tactic that is becoming increasingly common is
called spear phishing
. Rather than receiving an auto-generated, bot-sent mail that you can easily identify as malicious, you get a custom-tailored phishing message. Cybercriminals gather your personal information about you and people you’re close to, often using your public social media profiles. Then, they use this information to make messages appear highly specific and from people you know.

The best way to prevent phishing attacks is to stay suspicious.

If you receive a sudden, unexpected message asking you to take
actions such as sharing your personal information or clicking on
unknown links, take a step back and evaluate. In many cases,
cybercriminals will make these messages appear time-sensitive,
threatening account deletion or fines. Refuse to panic - and see such
language as the red flag that it is.


Non-Payment or Non-Delivery

Did you order something off the internet, but it never arrived? Or
did you provide your own products or services to someone online
without ever receiving payment?

Then you have joined the ranks of over 100,000 people who experienced
non-payment or non-delivery cybercrime.

With the massive increase in e-commerce, this type of cybercrime is
seeing a particular boom.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to protect yourself.

When shopping online, triple-check that the website you’re using is
legitimate.

First, check a website’s security information by clicking on the
padlock icon in your URL bar.

Then, verify a company’s social media presence as well as its
contact page and privacy policy.

Finally, you can use tools such as Google Transparency Report to check the browsing safety status of an online store. Similarly, swing by review sites such as Trustpilot to see if anyone else has had bad experiences with certain online portals.

To prevent non-payment fraud, make sure to collect sufficient
information from your customers and clients to verify their identity.


Ransomware and Extortion

In third place, the FBI ranks various extortion methods, especially
ransomware. In a ransomware attack, cybercriminals install malware on
your devices that then encrypts your data. To access it again, you
need to pay a certain sum of money - a ransom, in essence.

Last year, the FBI recorded almost 80,000 successful attacks of this
kind.

The best avenue to protect yourself is to avoid infecting your system with
ransomware in the first place. Avoid clicking unknown links or
opening unexpected attachments. Plus, invest in premium cybersecurity
software that can automatically flag suspicious messages and websites
and isolate any threats.

The second strategy is to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Regularly back up your data. If you do get hacked, that will buy you
time to respond and find alternative solutions.


Personal Data Breaches

Personal data breaches tallied in at just over 45,000 last year,
according to the FBI.

By definition, such a breach means that your personal information -
from healthcare data to social security and credit card numbers - is
released to an “unsafe environment”. Usually, that means hackers
gained access to it, and it may end up for sale on the dark web.

One way this can happen is if your devices are targeted directly, for
instance through public networks. To safeguard against this, use
cybersecurity software such as VPNs, which encrypts your traffic and
prevents external access.


Identity Theft

Finally, identity theft takes up the fifth place in this list. Just
short of 45,000 cases were included in the FBI’s report.

Identity theft means that someone uses your personal information,
such as your SSN, to commit fraud or other crimes. For you, this can
have disastrous legal and financial consequences - from bad credit
ratings to astronomical bills.

Unfortunately, identity theft is one of the most difficult types of
cybercrime to protect yourself against. If your personal information
is released to the dark web, anyone can take advantage.

One basic step towards identity theft prevention is to watch out for warning signs and immediately react if you see them. This means unexplained charges on your credit card, changing credit ratings, or messages from companies you’ve never heard of.

Another way to go is to invest in identity theft protection services. These are specialized cybersecurity companies that offer services such as monitoring the dark web for your personal information.

Conclusion

Cybercrime is a growing threat in 2022, and expanding in its variety.
Knowing what the most common types of attacks look like is essential.
That way, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself
effectively.

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