The internet has been one of the most important technical innovations in history. The way we all have access to an entire world of information and entertainment right through our computers is nothing short of phenomenal. But as it often happens, anytime something that creates as much opportunity as the internet does comes along, so do the criminal element to exploit it for wrongdoing. “Cybercrime” is the buzzword that has been created to describe crimes that happen to good people through the internet. And while most cybercrime occurs quietly in an unnoticed way, it is one of the fastest growing kinds of criminal activity in the entire history of 20th century crime.
One form of cybercrimes involves learning your personal information and using that to break into your personal accounts, steal from your bank account or use your credit cards. Many of the invasive and dangerous online “hacking” methods that cyber criminals use are just as clever as anything the most devious criminals minds thorough the history of 20th century crime ever came up with.
A cyber criminal can download software to your computer, which can “track” your online activity and capture your personal information as you type it and send it back to the criminals for use. This can all be done completely in the background so your own computer can become an unwilling accomplice with a clever criminal. Just as troubling although harder to understand are criminals who would download a “virus” or something else that could damage your computer.
These insidious computer programs can slip onto your computer disk and hide there for as long as the criminal mind that planted them wants them to wait. Then on a specified date and time or via some other signal, that virus can attack your computer and either make it very hard to use or even cause it permanent harm. The fact that internet criminals are capable of doing this kind of harm without you ever know it is happening can be very frightening. And it should frighten you into taking some kind of action.
The answer is to use a reliable protection service such as the Norton programs or MacAfee. These software packages are relatively inexpensive to get and they install on your computer to become your online guardians from attack. The security professionals who make those products constantly monitor new threats on the internet so they are ready to block that attack or to get rid of dangerous virus or other tracking software so it cannot perform cybercrime on your machine.
But having software in place to protect you from cybercrime is not all you should do to be safe when you are using the internet. You must also protect yourself by fighting cybercrime with responsible online habits especially when you are buying products online or using online banking where your personal data will be put out into cyberspace. Your personal internet software can protect your computer so the interactions you have online will not be “hacked” as you use the internet for financial dealings.
But you also must be smart in your use of financial sites and how you set up your security settings when you are doing business in cyberspace. Always make sure that anytime you use your credit card information online, you are dealing with a secure and trustworthy trading partner. They will have indicators that they have been validated as secure that you should look for.
But also be careful you create user names and passwords that are not easy to hack. Don’t use the same login information on every account and change your passwords often. These simple steps along with the software you use to protect you can go a long way to make you the interent citizen that is hard to attack. Then cyber criminals will move on to easier targets and leave you alone.