Cyber Fraud Online

Cyber attacks target users to gain access to their personal information or intellectual property. All types of online crimes continue to grow as hackers and organizations become more sophisticated in the way they illegally access information.

In order to protect oneself, your family, and your organization against the many threats online, it is important to understand these types of threats and attacks. A threat is what might happen; and attack is the execution of a threat.

Hacker Tools

As the cyber landscape continues to expand, Internet users need to be aware of the different ways hackers attempt to steal data. Skilled, determined hackers can break, enter, and succeed within minutes. Other times, they spend days or weeks establishing backdoors and fortifying their positions inside your network. Some of the ways hackers steal your information are:

  • phishing,
  • spoofing,
  • denial of service,
  • Trojan horse, or
  • malware.

These hacker tools are just a few examples of the way hackers will access data in your computers or mobile devices. It is critical to practice the various tips on the How-To Guide page to protect yourself from these various attacks.

Usually, these attacks are focused on two main goals: identify theft, and intellectual property (IP) theft.

Identity Theft

When most people think of identity theft, they picture their wallet getting stolen and someone using their driver’s license and credit cards. However, with the Internet becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives, identify theft has moved online and into our computers and smart phone.

Hackers use spyware to infect computer systems. They travel over the Internet silently and can access your computer system several ways, including:

  • downloading files or software,
  • opening email attachments ,
  • clicking on pop-ups, and
  • visiting suspicious or devious Web sites.

After spyware has infected your computer or mobile device, it can be almost impossible to detect its behavior. Most spyware can be designed so that it does not even leave a trail of itself, moving onto another device after accumulating personal information. When your device is connected to the Internet, spyware will transfer various types of information across the web to other users, including:

  • credit card numbers,
  • bank account numbers,
  • social security numbers,
  • usernames and passwords, and
  • Email addresses.

If you are able to take action quickly, the damage done by identity theft can be limited. If you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft, you need to take the following steps:

  • Call the authorities to report the identity theft.
  • Contact your bank to alert them to the identity theft.
  • Place an initial fraud alert.
  • Order your credit reports.

Being vigilant regarding your personal information is the best way to prevent identity theft online. Next, we will look at the growing problem of cyber IP theft and what you or your organization can do to prevent it.

Intellectual Property Theft

IP theft is a leading cause of economic losses today. Whether it is other organizations trying to steal information, or hackers who are politically-motivated, this threat affects not only individuals, but organization’s revenue levels and the Nation’s economic growth and sustainability. There is evidence that shows massive transfers of wealth-generating innovations to rivals domestically and abroad, resulting in serious consequences for advanced economies for decades to come.

There are four main types of intellectual property theft:

  • Patents
  • Trade marks
  • Designs
  • Copyrights

One way to protect your IP is the use of encryption. Today, encryption technologies are nearly unbreakable and the implementation of a good system should not see any detrimental effect on the transfer of data within an organization, or any negative impact on normal business systems.

If you or your organization believes that it has been a victim of IP theft, it is critical to receive legal advice from IP lawyers who can advise you on the next steps to retrieve your IP and any lost revenue as a result of IP theft.

Protect Yourself

The threat of cyber fraud is very real. For individuals, practicing the best practices on the How-To Guide page will better protect the data and information of you and your loved ones. For organizations, consistent staff training and various technological solutions can assist the process of protecting IP from nefarious organizations or individuals.

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