The Internet and computers have become an integral part of our everyday lives.
We wake to our smartphone alarm clock, check our emails over breakfast on our tablet, and settle in at our work desks in front of our computers to conduct the morning’s to-dos…and that’s all before 10am.
Yet, despite the convenience of all this modern technology, it also means that cybercrimes like hacking and identify theft are on the rise.
Norton released their report on cybercrime in 2013, and the data is quite compelling.
First off, though, let’s give a little context as to the depth of this report. Norton collected data from over 13,000 online adults ages 18-64 from 24 different countries.
Below are a few key factors that we found particularly interesting from Norton’s report:
64% of cybercrime victims are male.
66% are millennials (as compared to baby boomers).
Common theme noticed in victims: Almost 1/2 of victims don’t use basic precautions like passwords or security software.
Among smartphone users, 38% have been a victim of mobile cybercrime in the last year.
There are 378 victims per year, which is more than 1 million per day, which translates to 12 victims per second.
Risky behavior: 39% of social media users don’t log-out after a session, 25% share their passwords with family & friends, and 31% connect with people they don’t know.
There’s a new form of hacking out there that you may not have heard of, but experts are saying it’s the worst kind of virus out there: it’s complicated, has affected hundreds of thousands of victims, and has cost the victims tens of millions in “ransom” paid to hackers.
Recently exposed on The Today Show, this virus known as “cryptolocker” disguises itself as an attachment in an email from a familiar source, like UPS or FedEx, but when you click on the attachment, it launches the virus and attacks your hard drive. Your screen turns red, a countdown clock appears and all your data is locked…until you pay the hackers’ requested ransom. And, the kicker is, the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets, and if you choose not to pay up, your data — family photos, sensitive files, music, medical records, etc. — are locked forever.
This sophisticated virus has been linked to a Russian crime ring. The crime ring’s servers have now been disabled, but unfortunately there are a number of copycat hackers out there hoping to hold your computer for ransom, too!
The best way to protect yourself and your data is to (1) back up your computer regularly, (2) use antivirus software, (3) use extreme caution when opening unknown or unfamiliar emails and attachments, and (4) consider encrypting your data with a VPN service so that hackers can’t seize control.
Watch The Today Show‘s full report on the cryptolocker virus below.
Protect yourself from hackers with your own personal Virtual Private Network.
Read more about about how a VPN can protect you from cybercriminals here.