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Cybercrimes Internet security Malware Targeted Attacks Trojans Virus Worms

Knowing About Targeted Attacks

Cyberattacks are usually done with the aim to affect a large sum of people but targeted attacks are quite different. While the motive of hackers is same. I.e., cause harm to someone but they target single organization/company at a time. What are target attacks? Who are they targeting and what are the harms caused by such attacks? Knowing about any cyberattack is a step forward to prevent it. Even small pieces of knowledge can help you build up a plan in case of such targeted attacks. You can know about the basics by reading this article.

knowing-about-targeted-attacks

Cyberattacks aren’t new, they are happening and increasing at an alarming rate. Anyone can be the victim of these malicious attackers, me, you or anyone who is their target. But that doesn’t mean you have to panic, instead you can prepare yourself for such situations and react accordingly. Trust me that’s the need of the hour and will help you a lot.

Targeted attacks:

You can call an attack a targeted attacks if it fulfills the three main criteria:

  1. Main aim of that attack is to infiltrate the networks of their target and steal sensitive information from their servers.
  2. These attacks are target specific and it seen that to carry out this attack considerable amount of time, efforts and resources have been spent.
  3. Targeted attacks are persistent where attackers show considerable effort so that the attacks continue unless their aim is fulfilled.

Is there any difference between cyberattacks and targeted attacks?

As mentioned earlier targeted attacks are actually very different from the cyberattacks. Here’s how you can differentiate between them.

When an attack is done with the intention of harming maximum number of people in a short time span they are cyber attacks but when the attack is targeted they have a narrow scope limiting their targets to one company or organization. All their work, effort and research is carried out to lure people into their trap and getting access to their network.

While cyber attacks are opportunistic, automated and indiscriminate, targeted attacks are purposeful, deliberate and persistent. Intention behind any cyber crime is to steal money like stealing bank details but when any targeted attack takes place it occurs with the main intent of stealing information, the secondary intent is to steal money. Also targeted attacks take place on specific targets having a strong unifying theme like from the same organization.

Who are the targets?

Who are under the radar of target attackers is a concerning question. They can probably target and attack the following:

  • Billing companies : Attackers targeting and attacking billing companies have the purpose of accessing into customer’s account and steal important information. These information consists of financial information, customer’s database and technical data too.

  • Banks : The cyber criminals attack banks’ server with the intention of accessing information and illegally transfer money from the customers’ bank accounts.

Damage caused by targeted attacks:

The victims of target attacks can either be a whole company/organization or some employees of a company/organization in the following ways:

Effect on company:

  • Loss of customer’s information can be one of the damages caused by targeted attacks. Hackers break into the information database of the company and steal customer’s personal information which can be used for identity theft, extortion and blackmail.
  • Company’s reputation will be tarnished because of such attacks. Everyone will see the company incapable of being trusted with sensitive data important to their customers or related to national security.
  • Targeted attacks can cause financial loss too as they might lose clients or have to pay a lot because of legal troubles. Not just this but to repair all the damage caused by the attacks and for future investments companies have to pay big loads of money.
  • Target attacks can be very disrupting for any business and makes them unable to perform even their basic tasks. They either divert the manpower to deal with the attack and cause delay or cause a system downtime.

Effect on company’s employees:

  • Not just the company’s reputation but the employees’ reputation is at stake too. These attacks can also tarnish the reputation on any employee. Data breach results in stealing of important credentials and information that can be used in malicious ways to tarnish the image of employees.
  • Financial loss is very common when banking information of any employee is stolen.
  • Transferring funds from victim’s account is not the only way to steal money. Cyber criminals can use the stolen information of employees to blackmail them and extort money. If attacker’s aim is to steal/extort money then blackmailing is the most viable option for them as there’s no guarantee of getting your information back or destroyed by them. They can blackmail the victim as long as they are getting the money.
  • When cyber-attackers steal information or commit data breach they steal all the significant information and personal identity information. This includes your full name, phone numbers, address, banking details and other important information. This can lead to identity theft.
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Cybercrimes Internet security Malware Phishing Trojans Virus Worms

Why Cybercrimes Are Spreading Like Forest Fire?

Cybercrimes are becoming the new normal. Everyday you wake up to almost a new case of scam, fraud, theft and what not? No, this should not be the new normal! If someones asks me what can we do about it, the answer is, “Educate yourself about cybercrimes as much as you can”. Because by the means of education you can fight back against these crimes and criminals.

One of the most important questions to be raised is, “why there is a hike in the rate of cybercrimes”? the root of the problem will give you the solution. If we work on this principle then it can be a step forward in flattening this crime curve. What kind of cybercrimes are rising and why is the main concern of this article. Let’s begin with the first concern, I.e. the types of cybercrimes rising this year.

cybercrime-spreding-like-forest-fire

Cybercrimes:

Criminal activities targeting or using computers by using a computer network or networked device is termed as a cybercrime. Most of the cybercrimes are committed by the hackers with the intention of stealing money from net users. But some of the cybercrimes are carried by individuals or even organizations.

The main aim of cybercrime is to steal personal information of users, commit crimes and extort money from them. Sometimes the aim can also be other than that like fulfilling any political or personal agenda. A lot of hackers use advanced techniques and are technically skilled. Such crimes are mostly organized.

There are different types of cybercrimes you must have heard about, mentioned here:

  • Identity theft : People using internet for cash transactions and banking services are under the target of cyber attackers. Hackers get unauthorized access to your system and steal important information about you like bank account details, credit and debit card numbers etc. And transfer money from your account or buy things online in the victim’s name. By stealing your identity such criminals can cause you financial loss.

  • Hacking : Hacking is one of the most common cybercrimes committed by hackers for accessing into the system of their victim and steal their credentials and sensitive information by using a variety f softwares. Government systems are usually targeted by the hackers so that they can gain notoriety.

  • Illegal selling on dark web : When hackers steal your information they can sell it to third party on dark web. Besides victim’s information other illegal things like drugs, weapons etc are sold here and the transaction takes place via cryptocurrency. Millions of users around the world are selling and buying illegal stuff on dark web.

  • Computer vandalism : In order to disrupt businesses computer vandalism is used where attackers damage computers and their data. Malicious programs are designed for performing harmful tasks like extracting login information, erasing hard drives and more.

Reason behind increased cybercrime:

  • Doing their research : Nowadays cybercriminals have become smart as they are doing research about their potential targets. They try to gain as much information as possible about the victim. Publicly available data from social media is a big help for them.

  • Cybercrimes can be operated from anywhere : Thanks to the easily accessible internet, cybercrimes can be operated from almost anywhere. To operate without any difficulty criminals are working in countries with limited digital crime laws or only lax enforcement standards. It’s a comfort zone for any criminal to work in a place with lower risk of being caught.

  • Art of being patient and persistent : Thinking that all the attackers are impatient when it comes to scamming people is not true in every case. Now that they have grown smarter they have learned the art of being patient and persistent. They know that having patience can be beneficial to them. Data breaches can take weeks to be discovered and that time is used by the attackers to spread malware to maximum users and stealing their data without being caught. Persistent criminals start by gathering information from social media platforms and then use it for extracting important information.

  • Evolving scams : Scams are evolving with the scammers at an alarming rate. They know old schemes won’t work on most of the users so they have evolved their techniques. Touch screens have become really popular amongst the present population. Scammers came with the plan to created digitalized dust particles or hair follicles. They appear on your phone/computer/laptop screen, you swipe it and in that moment a malware is installed on your system.

  • Targeting maximum people at a time : Because of email facility targeting bulk of people at a time isn’t a big task for scammers. Nowadays everyone is receiving mails with attachments looking from any legitimate organization. All you have to do is click open the attachment and your system is infected. Sending mails is an easy option is cheap and you can send it in bulk at a times
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Malware Phishing Trojans Virus Worms

How Are Computer Virus, Trojans And Worms Different From Each Other?

Malware spread is rising rapidly and our computer security is at stake. Different types of malware are used by hackers to hack into our system and commit cyber crimes. Nowadays we all are getting news of identity frauds, phishing scams and what not. Many people don’t even know what has attacked their system so they can’t deal with it. Knowing about different types of malware is a necessary step, considering the present scenario.

How-Are-Computer-Virus-Trojans-And-Worms-Different-From-Each-Other

How many of you know the difference between a computer virus and trojan? Or between a trojan and worm? Or even between the three of them? If you want to know about it then you can find it in this article. In this article we will read about the difference between virus, worms and trojans and how such infections spread.

Starting with the basic definitions, we can say that:

  • Virus is a type of computer program or malicious software that connects itself to computer program or some other software and harms it.
  • Trojan is a type of malware that captures important information about a computer network or system.
  • Worms are the type of malware that replicates itself which eventually slows down the computer system.

Replication :

  • Virus replicates itself.
  • Trojans horse doesn’t replicate itself.
  • While worms have the ability to replicate itself.

Control :

  • Viruses are not controlled by remote.
  • Trojans can be controlled by remote.
  • Just like Trojans, Worms can also be controlled by remotes.

Spread :

  • Viruses spread at a moderate rate.
  • Worms have a faster spreading rate when compared to virus and Trojans.
  • Spreading rate of Trojan horse is slower than worms as well as virus.

Objective :

  • The main objective or aim of virus is to modify any information.
  • Trojan horse works with the objective of stealing information.
  • Worms as the name suggests has the objective of eating the system resources.

Execution :

  • Executable files are used to execute viruses.
  • To execute Trojan horses a programs that interprets as utility software is used.
  • The vulnerabilities of weaknesses of a system execute worms.

Spread of virus, worms and trojan horses:

How does these infections spread? By knowing this you can prevent your system from getting infected and your privacy from being breached.

Worms :

  • Most of the infections that attack your system are because of internet. There are links infected to website hidden in the HTML of website and because of that whenever that page loads infection is triggered.
  • Email attachments often carry worms and whenever someone opens that link the infection starts to spread.
  • Downloads and FTP servers can also contribute in spreading worms to your system. It starts by infecting individual FTP files or downloaded files. But if it goes undetected the harms caused by it can spread to the server and all outbound FTP transmissions.
  • Instant messaging apps can spread infection through desktop and mobile messaging apps generally as external links that includes native messaging apps like Facebook messenger, Whatsapp and more.
  • Worms can spread through P2P file sharing networks and by any other shared device or files like a network server or USB stick.

Trojan horses :

  • If anyone has access to your system then they can easily copy trojan horse to your hard disk or a hacker can also create a trojan that mimics a program unique to your system only.
  • If someone send you an email attachment infected with trojan horse, it is likely to infect your system whenever that attachment is opened. Hackers try to make that email attachment look as legit as possible so that the user gets tricked into opening it.
  • Sometimes people who cannot find your email address can send you trojan horse through online chat box or instant messaging because it is a relatively easy way of infecting someone’s system. Hackers befriend the potential victim, lure them by sending a file that catches their attention and when the victim opens it the trojan horse is triggered.
  • You can find trojans on websites providing free software like shareware programs. On such websites trojan horse write can get anonymity and a chance of attacking as many people as they want. Website operators don’t go through every file posted which result in trojan horse slipping through the checking process unnoticed sometimes.

Virus :

  • Promotional mails are there in everyone’s mail box. Such mails comes with virus containing attachments but looks like from a legit website. So users generally open those attachments and their system gets infected.
  • Many websites like dating, gaming entertainment or adult automatically install virus and other malware into your system.
  • Hard drives containing infected disks are responsible for virus attacks and infections. Virus programs can get activated when you attach the hard drive to your computer and restart it and your data gets compromised.