It should come as no surprise to consumers that cybercrime is on the rise. Cybercrime is defined as any criminal act that incorporates a computer or Internet component. Cybercrime includes, but is not limited to, identity theft, theft or manipulation of data or services, online fraud, and extortion.
According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Vol XII (Jan 1 to June 30, 2007), the leading assessment of Internet security in the world that provides a snap-shot of the state of Internet security for the past six months and future trends, cybercrime is becoming more about highly targeted professional attacks than the widespread and disorganized cyber-attacks of the past. The same report also noted that home users were the most highly targeted sector, accounting for 95% of all targeted attacks.
Symantec’s team of Internet security experts has forecasted the most highly anticipated security challenges for 2008:
· Bot Evolution – Symantec expects bots to diversify and evolve in their behavior. For example, phishing sites hosted by bot zombies may develop.
· Election Campaigns – As political candidates increasingly turn to the Internet, it is important to understand the associated security risks of increased dependence and interdependence on technology in the election process. These risks include the diversion of online campaign donations; dissemination of misinformation about candidates’ positions and conduct; fraud; phishing; and, the invasion of privacy.
· Mobile Platforms – Interest in mobile security has never been higher. As phones become more complex, and more connected, Symantec expect attackers to take advantage.
· Spam Evolution – Symantec expects to see spam continuously evolve in order to evade traditional blocking systems and trick users into reading messages.
· Virtual Worlds – Symantec expects that as the use of persistent virtual worlds (PVWs) and massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) expands, new threats will emerge as criminals, phishers, spammers, and others turn their attention to these new communities.
Symantec makers of Norton security software, shares the following general best practices for consumers to ward off cybercrime:
· Don’t click on links sent in suspicious emails. Always type the known URL directly into the URL window.
· Never open attachments received in emails from unknown senders.
· Check your credit card statements and reports regularly for fraudulent activity that may have resulted from a data breach, hack or other malicious activity.
· Be extra cautious when shopping online, particularly during the busy online holiday shopping season. Look for the lock symbol and “s” in the URL – it should read “H‑T-T-P-S” – on any page that requests a credit card number.
· Maintain active Internet security protection, which includes antivirus, antispyware, firewall and identity protection. Keep operating systems (for example, Windows® XP), browsers (for example, Internet Explorer), and other applications (such as RealPlayer or iTunes) updated with the latest security patches. Remember to protect your mobile devices too.
· Use digital common sense – if something seems askew online, don’t proceed.