The rise of cybercrime
22 June 2016
Crimes such as fraud, identity theft or extortion hatve existed for as long as there have been civilizations. A criminal’s goal has always been the same: to make as much money as possible, as easily as possible and with a little risk as possible. Traditionally, this was difficult, because criminals were often limited by their location and had to physically interact with their intended victims. This not only limited who criminals could target, but also exposed them to a great deal of risk. However, crime has changed radically with the advent of the internet and online technology. Now cyber criminals can easily target almost anyone in the world, with little or no cost and at very little risk. Additionally, cyber criminals have become highly organised and efficient, enabling them to be more effective than ever.
Why you are targeted
Ultimately, cyber criminals know that the more credit cards they steal, the more bank accounts they hack or the more passwords they compromise, the more money they can make. They will literally attempt to hack anyone connected to the internet – including you. Hacking millions of people around the world may sound like a lot of work, but it is surprisingly easy as they use automated tools to do all the work for them. For example, they may build a database of millions of email addresses and use an automated tool to send a phishing message to every one of those addresses. Sending the emails costs the criminals almost nothing: they simply use other hacked computers – perhaps even yours – to do their dirty work. This is another example of why your devices have value; if nothing else they can be used to hack or harm others. Ultimately, cyber criminals do not know who will fall victim to their email attacks. However, they do know that the more emails they send out, the higher their success rate. Remember, you are not being singled out. Rather, these criminals are targeting everyone they can, which may happen to include you.