Cyber crime is a growing security concern for individuals and organizations.
Cyber crime is any illegal activity that is committed by using a computer or the Internet. Cyber crime includes credit card and bank account fraud, software piracy, copyright infringement, stalking and harassment. Malicious software (malware) is often hidden in harmless looking email attachments. Phishing scams are designed to trick Internet users into sharing passwords and other private information. Cyber crime can be committed against people, property and organizations. Diligent monitoring of computer networks is necessary to protect sensitive information.
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- Cyber crimes against persons include spam and spoof email, defamation, harassment and stalking. A spoof email is one that appears to be from a different source than the actual originator. Spam email is numerous copies of the same email, such as chain emails or sales solicitations. Cyber defamation is committed when someone publishes libelous claims on a website or via email. Cyber stalking occurs when someone uses chat rooms, email and social networking sites to monitor another person's Internet activity and engage in unwelcome contact.
- Cyber crime against property includes credit card fraud, software piracy and bandwidth theft. Cyber criminals obtain credit card information by attaching malware to email. Phishing is used to fool a person into providing private information. Phishing emails and websites often appear legitimate. They may display the official logo of a financial institution. Theft of bandwidth is unauthorized access to an Internet connection. Software piracy is copying and distributing copyrighted software. Sharing "cracks" and key generators to bypass software protection is considered software piracy.
- Advanced persistent threats are continuing stealth attacks against an organization. Government agencies are frequently the target of this kind of cyber crime. Cyber criminals usually have access to a secure data network or agency website for months before they are discovered. During this time, the cyber criminal has access to confidential information. Cyber criminals use specially written computer code to retrieve data without detection by firewalls. Advanced persistent threats include other governments and political groups engaging in espionage.
- Hacktivism is a recent development in Internet security. Hacktivism is a form of cyber activism to protest or to gain information to be used by a group opposed to the target site. Hacktivists gain access to private or government databases and websites to obtain confidential information or disrupt the site. Hactivists may shut down a website in protest of government policy or business activity. Websites may be hijacked to advance a political or social agenda. Hacktivists are usually well organized and possess the advanced coding skills necessary to obtain sensitive information.
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