Who Are the Cybercriminals and How Can You Stop Them?
by Dr. William Perry, Information Security Consultant

The mindset of an individual who would want to attack the computers and networks owned by others is, without question, criminal.  The act of intruding upon another’s confidential personal or business information requires a pre-meditated and calculated act.  Its purpose is to inflict financial or personal harm on others by stealing money, denying the use of their information or to gain illegal access to proprietary plans.  Cybercriminals are totally cynical and strive to remain in the shadows.

People who attack the information assets of others are on the prowl for system weaknesses to exploit.  The prime targets are unsuspecting individuals or businesses that are vulnerable to the attack modes chosen by cybercriminals.  They are deceitful and seek the cloak of anonymity.

The true nature of someone who would access, use and exploit your private information is a mixed bag.  His or her character is between that of a person who would enjoy searching through your personal items and an employee who would embezzle money from a corporation.

The focus of crackers and hackers is to use their specialized knowledge to encroach upon the private lives of people and organizations.   Electronic thieves seek to take advantage of people who are without information needed to fight back and block them.  Cyber criminals are true low-life.

Digital bandits are sociopaths who ply their trade without regard to the harmful effects they have on others and truly lack remorse.  What’s particularly unsettling about felonious computer whizzes is that they are usually very intelligent.  They are without a conscience and enjoy stealing and hurting others.

Computer crooks can be ranked on a scale from “less skilled” to “expert”.  Anyone can download basic cracking software from the Internet.  The real pros, however, study their targets over time in stealth mode.  The highly skilled cracker plans and analyzes the victim to get the maximum effect.

Preying upon unsuspecting users is among the most disturbing behaviors of the PC and mainframe pirates.  Most computer users are unaware of how many threats and vulnerabilities that they face when they power-up their computer or go online.  Lawless computer users thrive on the ignorance of others.

So how do you fight those who would breach your personal data with the purpose of stealing or hurting you in a variety of different ways?  Presume that the bad guys are trying to break into your system.  Use your knowledge and security best practices to block them.

11 Steps of Preventing Cybercriminals exploits

  1. Develop a security mind set
  2. Assess your risks
  3. Use complex passwords and phrases for your system(s)
  4. Identify and eliminate common vulnerabilities
  5. Routinely update software patches and fixes
  6. Probe and test electronic systems
  7. Use appropriate security-related hardware and software (e.g. anti-virus software, firewalls)
  8. Lock your computer screen when you leave your work area
  9. Encrypt and back up all of your data
  10. Practice good cyber hygiene (e.g. avoid clicking on email links and attachments)
  11. Avoid maintaining a persistent Internet connection

You can defend against those who would try to harm you using digital technology and the Internet.  Obstruct the pathways that are followed by lawless information thieves.

Learn more about securing your information assets by visiting www.paladin-information-assurance.com or at computer-security-glossary.org.