Could you be a victim of cybercrime?
Cybercrime covers a broad range of criminal activity and can occur anytime and anyplace. What makes cybercrime different is it is committed with a computer and the internet. Some of the most common cybercrimes are identity theft, computer viruses and computer hacking.
Most people are aware of cybercrime threats and have taken steps to protect themselves and their PC’s with anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. Since cybercrimes are becoming more and more prevalent business owners should take particular care to protect confidential and proprietary information. In addition to anti-spyware and virus programs firewalls may be used to protect computer networks and the spread of malicious software. Business should always be aware of threats and employ the most up-to-date security practices available.
Online security practices should include:
- Hardware based network firewall
- Anti-spyware and anti-virus programs loaded on each PC automatically updated and monitored for viruses
- Automatic operating system updates for security and critical updates on each PC
- Back-up of all critical files
- Multiple layers of security tools for on-line business banking
Cybercrimes can be particularly difficult to investigate and prosecute because they often cross legal jurisdictions and even international boundaries. If you think you might be a victim of cybercrime the following agencies may be of help.
- Your local law enforcement office: Even if you have been the target of a multijurisdictional cybercrime, your local law enforcement agency (either police department or sheriff’s office) has can assist you, take a formal report, and make referrals to other agencies.
- IC3. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) will review and evaluate your complaint and refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency that has jurisdiction over the matter. IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center (funded, in part, by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance). Complaints may be filed online at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Ways to Prevent Cybercrime
- Secure your accounts: Many account providers now offer additional ways for you to verify who you are before you conduct business on their sites beyond the typical password.
- Make passwords strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to deter cybercriminals.
- Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
- Own your online presence: Set the privacy setting to maximum level.
Keeping information out of the hands of cybercriminals is becoming harder and hard. Being aware and proactive is the first defense in not becoming a victim of cybercrime.