How to recognize and protect yourself from cybercrime
Authored by a Symantec employee
Cybercrime is a growing threat in 2016. You might think that the only form of cybercrime you have to worry about is hackers stealing your financial information. Unfortunately there are far more concerns than just basic financial ones. When you see the full list of cybercrimes out there, you might be tempted to stop using the Internet entirely. However, such drastic measures are not necessary. All you need to do to protect yourself is take some basic precautions and know who to contact when you see others engaged in criminal activities online.
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What Is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any crime that takes place online or primarily online. That can run the gamut from the aforementioned identity theft and other security breaches to things like “revenge porn,” cyber-stalking, harassment, bullying and even child sexual exploitation. Terrorists are collaborating more on the Internet, moving that most terrifying of crimes into cyberspace.
How to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime
There are some basic precautions everyone using the Internet should take to protect themselves from the gamut of cybercrimes out there:
1. Use a full-service Internet security suite such as Norton Security Premium to ensure that you are protecting yourself against viruses, as well as other emerging threats on the Internet.
2. Use strong passwords, don’t repeat your passwords on different sites and make sure to change your passwords regularly. A password management application can help you to keep your passwords locked down.
3. Keep all your software updated. This is most important with your operating systems and Internet security suites. Hackers are most likely to use known exploits in your software to gain access to your system. Patching those exploits makes it far less likely that you’re going to be a victim.
4. Manage your social media settings to keep most of your personal and private information locked down. Social engineering cybercriminals can often get your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share with the broader world, the better.
5. Secure your home network with a strong encryption password as well as a VPN. A VPN will encrypt all traffic leaving your devices until it arrives at its destination. Even if a hacker manages to get in your communication line, they won’t intercept anything but encrypted traffic.
6. Talk to your children about acceptable use of the Internet without shutting down communication channels. Make sure they know that they can come to you in the event that they’re experiencing any kind of online harassment, bullying or stalking.
7. Keep up to date on major security breaches. If you have an account on a site that’s been impacted by a security breach, find out what the hackers know and change your password immediately.
8. If you believe that you’ve become a victim of a cybercrime, you need to alert the local police and in some cases the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission. Even if the crime seems minor this is important, as you are helping to prevent criminals from taking advantage of other people in the future.
Every American has an obligation to do their part in the fight against cybercrime. For most people, that just means following a few simple, common-sense steps to keep you and your family safe, as well as reporting cybercrimes to the relevant officials at the appropriate time. When you do that, you’re pulling your weight in the war on cybercrime.
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