Along with the perks of free online chat applications, there are also certain dangers that exist in the digital world. Sharing data online, for instance, becomes risqué business unless proper precautions are taken to avoid any mishaps. Cybercrime has become a common phenomenon and cases are growing in number by the day. Different types of cybercrimes include theft of data, illegitimate access to computers or networks, virus attacks, hacking websites, spamming, sextortion and creating fake accounts, etc. Naive youngsters are easy targets for cybercriminals.
We will look at some of the common types of cybercrime;
- Phishing Assault
In a phishing attack, cybercriminals use email or malignant websites to extract private information from an individual or company by acting as a trustworthy organization. Phishing attempts often appear in the form of an email, but can also come in the form of a text message (SMiShing) or voicemail (Vishing).
At some point in our lives, we’ve all seen messages in our inbox which, on the face of it, were sent by friends, old colleagues, or family members but which were actually chain mails.
The messages seem harmless at first since they involve either taking a quiz, learning about ancestors, or getting registered for an upcoming event. They ask you to click on a link and provide some personal information. You later realize you have been scammed since that message wasn’t sent to you by someone you know. The email/ message looks authentic and consists of information that you are familiar with, such as, confirmation of an email address or a request to share account information. This is actually a trick used to obtain your personal data, online credentials, or send a virus to your computer.
The best way to protect yourself is to completely ignore such messages or to confirm first, through other reliable ways, whether they have actually been sent by people you know.
Malicious software, also known as malware, is one of the most common types of cybercrime because it can transform itself into several different formats. Malware could be anything from Trojan viruses to worms to spyware and is still a major culprit in most cybercriminal raids. It can control your computer from a distance, spying on what keys you’re pressing, or steal personal documents or information saved on your device.
In the past few years, a new kind of malware – ransomware – has grown and spread out on a vast scale, contaminating organizations across the world. When a ransomware attack occurs, devices and networks shut down due to malicious software and only start functioning again once a ransom is paid. Cybercriminals often aim for organizations that have a considerable amount of confidential information that needs to be utilized within a given time frame, such as hospitals or law firms.
Luckily, most malware attacks can be avoided by keeping away from suspicious websites and installing and running regular antivirus check-ups on all your devices, including smartphones.
- Online Credential Violation
Lately, quite a number of cybercrimes have been reported which mostly have to do with stealing consumers’ account information for bank accounts, credit cards, and vendors. Many consumers keep using the same password for different online chat applications, despite several warnings, and once their account is violated, they land in great danger.
A way of preventing this is by using a strong, distinctive password for separate accounts. These passwords should never be shared nor be saved on public computers. For banking, in particular, those passwords should not be used which are used for non-financial sites, such as social media or email.
- Risqué Data
Extortion through some kind of threat of disclosure of sexual material about the victim is known as, ‘Sextortion’. Harassers who participate in sextortion can use several different methods. They can trap victims by involving them romantically through dating platforms and eventually convince them to quit using the platform. This is done to avoid prompting the security apparatuses dating apps use to detect possible scammers. Once victims stop using the dating platform and start using a regular messaging app, the criminals will try and convince them to share some risqué and private photos or videos, which will later be used for blackmailing them.
It is a bad idea to send risqué photos online with anyone, even if it’s someone you know and can trust because you can never be sure if their devices or accounts are hacked. Also, your relationship with the same people, along with your level of trust in them, might change over time, which is why it strongly recommended that you avoid sharing sensitive data online.
Among many online chat applications, the NEEOpal App. is one that lays special emphasis on user safety. It encrypts pictures for keeping personal images safe, provides users with an option to block unwanted contacts, and also an option for keeping the account private. The app detects if risqué data, such as nude pictures or other controversial items are being shared or posted on social media, and immediately removes them. It is still recommended, however, that users only follow people whose profiles seem real and authentic.