Cybercrime, because it does not take place physically, is a form of crime which very few people take seriously. Being naïve on the internet or being reckless with information online, is what gets many people in “sticky situations” when it comes to them being victims of cybercrime. This article endeavours to explore the definition of cybercrime, how cybercrime takes place and also, what must be done if you have been a victim of cybercrime – in essence, be prepared to be educated on the form of crime which is least spoken about, but which occurs most often.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is crime which in some way or form involves the internet. There are various ways in which cybercrime can take place. Some of these ways include personal data being obtained illegally, sharing of messages and/or emails which contain viruses, extortion as well as terrorist activity, just to name a few. Although cybercrime is a wide definition and can happen in many ways and forms, we touch on a specific scenario below, this being an unsolicited email containing a virus.
An example of how cybercrime takes place?
One way in which cybercrime can take place by someone sending you a message and/or an email that contains a virus. This virus is activated once the message is opened or the email is opened. The “hacker”, as they are referred to, is then able to get access to all your personal information, files as well as your data. To avoid you from stopping their activity, the “hacker” ensures that you are locked out of your computer.
Four things to do if you’ve been a victim of cybercrime?
It is crucial to understand and be aware of the steps you can take once you realize you have been a victim of cybercrime. The four things you can do once you have been a victim of cybercrime are as follows:
- Disengage: Once noticing that your computer has been hacked, automatically switch your internet off. Should you be connected to the Wi-Fi, switch your connection off.
- Scan your computer: It is always a good idea to scan your computer for viruses and have anti-virus software installed on your computer. This will protect you from being a victim of cybercrime and will notify you should any untrustworthy items exist on your computer.
- Have a backup: Ensure that your computer and the information on your computer is regularly backed up to a trusted source. This will ensure that should your information be hacked or go missing, you will have another platform where you are able to retrieve the lost information.
- Change your password: Once you have managed to retrieve your information and sort out your computer and files, be sure to change your passwords. Always remember to create strong passwords that cannot easily be thought of and duplicated.
“As the world is increasingly interconnected, everyone shares the responsibility of securing cyberspace” – Newton Lee
If you feel that you have been negatively affected by the actions of another online, you should discuss the matter with a legal professional in order to obtain sound legal advice. If the actions of the third party is in fact criminal, the action has to be reported to your nearest police station in order that the matter may be prosecuted.