The rise of the Internet has brought about the rise of the cybercriminal. When you hear about cybercriminals, you may wonder who they are and why they commit cybercrimes.
Describing who cybercriminals are is simple. They’re individuals or teams of people who use their technological skills to break into databases and other Internet networks with malicious intent. Explaining their motivations takes a bit more effort.
A cybercriminal’s behavior is characterized by a range of technical and emotional traits. It usually involves using malicious intent, false persuasion, technical wizardry, and emotional criminality. Cybercriminals often don’t judge between victims, whether they’re a senior citizen with life savings at stake or a small business that was hacked and all of its customer accounts accessed. They have something to gain from their crimes, and the anonymity and impersonality of the internet embolden them.
Often, cybercriminals hack into these systems using their knowledge of web coding, network infrastructure and human behavior to steal personal and company information and customer data. They usually intend to sell this data and information on the deep web or other underground markets. There are many types of underground markets and cybercriminal networks across different countries, some are more active and prevalent than others. In these networks, the cybercriminals can choose to sell their illicit goods to gain a profit or trade with interested parties to gain valuable data in return.
Cybercriminality is all around us. It affects everyone from small businesses to the top layers of the federal government. In February 2020, for example, the U.S. Department of Defense acknowledged that personal data for over 200,000 people had been exposed. This happened when hackers broke into the servers of the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency.
Another aspect of cybercrime is making the rounds and hitting job-hunting individuals the hardest. These people are often desperate in their search for a new job opportunity and may let their job aspirations cloud their judgment. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center warns online job hunters that cybercriminals are creating realistic-looking job ads to lure them into giving up Social Security numbers, driver’s license images and other personal data that can be used in identity theft operations and other cybercrimes.
Understanding types of cybercrimes
The most common cybercrimes include identity theft, online fraud, computer network hacking, malware distribution across networks and other forms of cyber thievery. For example, companies and organizations can be hit with email phishing attacks, malicious botnets and other potentially damaging programs embedded into a network to create identity theft situations.
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