Cybercrime is any violation of federal, state, or local statute, or malicious or suspicious activity, in which a computer, network or device is an integral component of the violation. Examples can include: a malicious cybercriminal breaking into a computer to steal information (computer intrusion) or to change a website (website defacement); malware being placed on a computer without the owner’s permission; and that malware using that computer’s resources to send spam.
Cybercrime actors can generally be classified into several categories: lone hackers, script kiddies, insiders, hacktivists, terrorists, nation-states, and organized cybercriminal groups. The motivations for committing cybercrime will vary and can include a desire for recognition or promotion of an ideology; theft of money or information for industrial espionage; or the creation of widespread disruption. Cybercrime is big business. Between October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014, for example, U.S. victims lost nearly $180 million through a scam known as the Business Email Compromise. One underground market has more than 14 million U.S. credit cards for sale . The creators of the CryptoLocker (http://grahamcluley.com/2013/11/cryptolocker-protect/) Opens in a new tab
ransomware earned approximately $300,000 profit in its first 100 days.
Cybercrime—whether from malware on a single computer or the recent high-profile hacks against Sony, Target, Home Depot and others—impacts everyone. Below are some key practices you can use to help minimize your risk of being a victim:
If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, notify your bank, and any other entities with which you have accounts, to inform them that someone may be using your account fraudulently. Contact all three major credit bureaus to request a credit report, and have a fraud alert and a credit freeze placed on your account.
Internet-related crime, like any other crime, should be reported to appropriate authorities at the local, state, or federal levels, depending on the scope of the crime. Contact your local police department, your State Attorney General Opens in a new tab
, and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center Opens in a new tab
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