The bible in the book of 1 Samuel 17 narrates the story of a young boy the son of Jesse named David that slay an uncircumcised Philistine whose height was 6 cubits and a span named Goliath. This story has been the pillar of how small things must not be underestimated to impact gigantic situations. All it took was a sling and one stone to hit Goliaths forehead for him to sink to his demise. Warfare has evolved over the years from land to water to air and now in cyber space (the internet). My Pastor once triggered something when he shared a line “one thing the rapture and technology have in common is that they leave behind the unprepared.” The world has digitized in this Internet of things age and clearly a lot of corporates and individuals have not been left behind. Who needs to physically be in a bank when all banking services are now in your pocket device meaning you can do Banking on your mobile device? Who needs large physical servers to store data when the world has the cloud? Who needs to book a flight ticket at an agency when it can be done online at a deep discount? Who needs a trial and error mechanic when you can just plug in to a diagnosis machine that detects all faults on a computerized car? However technological innovation and sophistication has brought with it sophisticated evils that gives company executives sleepless nights.
What is Cyber Crime?
The Data and Goliath analogy is used to depict the immense damage that can result from simple carelessness such as sharing a password with a colleague who inturn uses it for criminal intentions. Every electronic gadget that uses internet is now at risk of being a tool for cybercrime. What is cybercrime? It is defined as a violation of rules using internet means. Examples include:
1. Unauthorized use of a credit or debit card PIN number and using it to transact online or on an Automated Teller Machine – ATM;
2. Using a another individuals password to effect unauthorized changes on the system with malicious intent;
3. Mimicking or impersonating individuals using their real details but for one’s personal gain i.e on social media;
4. Deployment of malicious software (viruses) on electronic devices to disrupt, steal information and damage devices with malicious intent. The list is endless;
Malware for Malicious Software
The world has become a sophisticated place to live in. Malware has invaded the world’s internet space making threatening individuals privacy concerns. Malware is a short cut for Malicious Software which is used to disrupt normal operations, destroy and access information in an unauthorized fashion. This will take the form of Spyware, Andromeda, Trojan Horse and Adware. Because of the nature of the infections these malware was previously called viruses and the antidote for the infection was called antivirus. It is important that antivirus on technology gadgets be updated lest vulnerability to hacking increases.
Malware (virus) infection entry points
1. Malware entry points include USB ports for flash drives which are infected. Using infected USB sticks is hazardous to electronic gadgets such as lap tops, computers and iPad. It is very cardinal that update anti-virus software is used to clean electronic devices for infections. Outdated software exposes computer devices to malware;
2. Malicious downloads accessed by clicking unsafe links. Individuals need to be vigilant enough not to click on links anyhow. Lately with the WhatsApp and social media age, many are into forwarding unsafe links that are perpetrated by cyber criminals to access peoples private information. A good example is SAA links for free air tickets, free WhatsApp links for free data, links to luring photos and things that tickle peoples fancy. THE MESSAGE IS DONT CLICK OR FOWARD UNSAFE LINKS;
3. Torrent movie downloads from untrusted sources on the internet is a notorious source of malicious software that is damaging to electronic devices;
4. Other sources include receiving stray mails in the name of spam and going on to open them. Congratulations you have won a jackpot WHY YOU DIDNT ENTER FOR? This gives criminals access to private information to a centralized data base;
5. Lack of software updates on mobile gadgets such as phones, iPad’s, laptops etc. makes the machines vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It is important that WE UPDATE SOFTWARE ON OUR MOBILE DEVICES. This increases the resilience of mobile device against viruses and hacking. The sophisticated nature of a phone operating system I.e Android, iOS, Bada, Blackberry, MeeGo or Palm makes it hard for criminals to hack phones;
6. Weak password management is one of the easiest points for cyber criminals to gain access to individuals private data. Examples include predictable and weak passwords such as 1234, year of birth or identity numbers. Criminals gather as much information as possible that they use to run algorithms to can give upto a million password combinations to gain access to private data;
Phishing versus Fishing.
Phishing accounts for 91% of all cyber crime. International statistics show that it takes 200 days on average for a successful phish. What is phishing? It is the homophone for the real fishing. To catch fish, one has to use bait (worms) to lure the fish to the hook. This is the same rationale cyber criminals use to entice individuals into giving up personal data. They will use things that are very attractive such as free internet links, jackpot wins, links to fake sites which lure individuals to clicking and opening the links. Opening the links is all criminals need to gain access to an individuals mobile device.
What do Cyber Criminals really want?
Only after the advent of cybercrime has the world realized the value of information. Information is said to be the most valuable asset any entity can have. Information will grant criminal access to personal details such as credit card numbers to bank accounts and other sensitive data they can use to profit. Sometimes it’s not about monetary benefit but to show power as in the case of the Russia and Iranian case. The world’s best military units now have cyber units the manage risks and protect weapons that are set on digital platforms. In a world that is digitalizing, cyber risks are rising and becoming more sophisticated. With the pace of competition, we cannot rule out competitors ability to hack into each other’s systems to have edge over reach other.
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