How Big of a Threat Is Cyber Crime?

Security

When the two words ‘crime’ and ‘technology’ are brought up in conversation cybercrime is usually not the thing that comes first to the minds of most people. Rather, many tend to think of crime-solving technology such as DNA analysis and fingerprinting used in solving cases on popular TV murder mysteries and dramas.

In general, most of us do not even consider cybercrime when we worry about our safety, although in this day and age we probably should. Cyber security attacks, both personal and international are on the rise. Hackers are becoming bolder in exploiting the weaknesses brought about by poor security settings and lack of investment in proper protections.

Personal Security

The average internet user pays for some level of virus protection on their home computer, however, doing this does not necessarily protect us from attacks on our personal account information. It is estimated that 60 percent of all data breaches are related to identity theft. These are attacks performed in an effort to gain access to the information in our personal accounts, which can then be used to make large purchases, create fraudulent documentation, or worse.

Personal security breaches can take years to recover from, especially if the information or funds stolen result in the destruction of personal credit. Unfortunately, there are no foolproof methods to protecting yourself against identity theft and other personal security issues. The most important steps to take though are to protect your personal information by destroying documents with account numbers on them, not giving out personal data without extreme trust in the information receiver, and by using intelligent passwords for all online accounts.

Protecting Business Data

Just as personal security information is a high target for cyber security criminals, so is the data of businesses and companies. The most recent widely publicized company data breach was the Sony data hack which took place at the end of 2014 and resulted in the release of business plans, contract information, and private company data. Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the entire ordeal was the fact that cyber security experts around the globe were not surprised and actually admitted that although Sony’s personal data was breached on a deep level, the attack was minor on a grand scale.

Luckily, there has been some significant efforts to make online data storage safe, especially in the cloud. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been experimenting with new security protections related to data that can be stored online. Cloud data is exceptionally promising and an exciting advancement in technology as it allows a wide array of businesses to lower costs significantly and share data to improve efficiency. Large companies such as Google and Amazon have invested heavily in the research aimed to increasing information protection.

National Security Issues

Arguably the largest issue associated with cyber security has to do with national security. Cyber espionage by definition is the hacking of computer data in an effort to gain illicit access to confidential information typically held by a governing body. These types of data security breaches have been taking center stage over the past few years and as the internet and computer-based data storage become more and more commonplace within government systems attacks are only expected to become more sophisticated.

In an effort to get ahead of the next batch of advanced hackers attempting the break into national data archives, the US Central Intelligence Agency announced a plan to place national cyber security front and center in its operations. The plan essentially elevates the CIA’s hacker to a new level of importance as the agency shifts attention to integrating digital intelligence into its normal operations. Furthermore, it suggests that countries such as the United States are taking cyber threats very seriously and are attempting to recruit the brightest minds for these types of positions.

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As our dependence upon technology increases it is essential for us to take precautions to protect ourselves online as we do in our day to day lives. Cyber security threats come in all shapes and sizes ranging from identity theft to cyber espionage, but all pose a significant hazards. It is time to begin taking them seriously.

Brittni Brown is a recent graduate of The College of Idaho in environmental studies. She currently works in marketing for a local business. A life-long learner, Brittni loves sharing new ideas and information with people. In her free time, she loves biking, hiking, and camping. You can follow her through the buttons below.