Top 10 Ridiculous Misconceptions About Cybercrime

Top 10 Ridiculous Misconceptions About Cybercrime


Top 10 Ridiculous Misconceptions About Cybercrime 10. Cybercrime Is All About Hacking Data The common mental image of a typical hacker
goes along the lines of how Hollywood depicts them: a man furiously types away as the screen
fills up with hundreds of lines of code at an unreadable rate. Then the hacker slams
the Enter key, and the screen brings up a big green box that reads “Hack Successful.”
That’s how all cybercrime goes down, right? In fact, a lot of crime is committed without
the criminal doing much at all. They wait for their victims to do the legwork. Everyone
knows about the typical scams like phishing, fraudulent emails that demand user input.
But not so much is known about the use of the Internet to commit robberies. Before you
start wondering how criminals can climb through a computer screen and pop out in someone’s
house, let’s look at a real world example. Back in 2010, the police in the town of Nashua,
New Hampshire broke up a robbery ring responsible for stealing up to $200,000 worth of property.
Their method? They monitored Facebook pages for people announcing holidays or other trips,
then broke into the house when the owner wasn’t around. No amount of keeping the lights on
would deter a robber from that offer. So when using the Internet, remember that crime goes
a lot further than your firewall and antivirus. Keeping a smart head on your shoulders can
go a long way. 9. We Can Regulate Illegal Downloads Easily All this news about illegal downloads of games,
music and movies doesn’t sound too bad in theory. All we have to do is find out who
gives out downloads and shut them down. That will solve the problem, right? Unfortunately, issues arise when you try to
regulate the nature of illegal downloading. When someone downloads a file from someone
else, they’re not taking the file from the other person — they’re duplicating it.
This means it’s relatively easy to create a carbon copy of a file on an entirely different
server, which is called a mirror. Criminals can use this to create backups should their
primary server go down. Okay, but what if the websites that list these
illegal mirrors are blocked? Unfortunately, simply blocking websites doesn’t solve the
problem. The Pirate Bay has been blocked in many countries, but people within said countries
can still access the content through proxy services, which circumnavigate the block and
deliver the content to the user. Blocking a website is easy, but keeping it blocked
is like a virtual game of whack-a-mole that could end up being a 24/7 job for regulators. 8. Antivirus Software Block All Threats Viruses and spyware can infect your computer
and turn it into an attractive paperweight, but installing an antivirus program will lock
down your computer and keep it safe, right? Maybe a while ago, but modern developers of
malicious software have adopted to how antivirus software works. An antivirus does its job
by downloading a catalog of virus definitions (imagine a row of mug shots of known criminal
software). The antivirus then refers to this catalog when scanning files and activity.
The coders of these bad eggs have changed their strategy in response — instead of
spreading one long-living virus which can be easily identified and deleted, they spread
a wide range of viruses with short lifespans in an effort to beat the virus definitions. How short lasting is the modern day virus?
Fireeye states that 82 percent of viruses are designed to last only an hour. The result?
55 percent of cyber attacks go unnoticed by commercial antivirus software. Before you pull the plug on your Internet
connection and hide your computer in a nuclear bunker, it’s good to know that the best
antivirus strategy is being knowledgeable about how to stay safe online. Sadly, this
mean no more free kitten screensavers from strange foreign websites. 7. Microsoft Windows Is The Only Operating
System With Viruses This was one of the selling points for Apple
products in the early days of the Internet. Windows machines were facing a slew of dangerous
viruses, while other operating systems were spared. It seemed like the safer route to
purchase a Mac or, ugh, install Linux. The reason for this is twofold. When creating
a virus, you can only design it to target one family of operating systems. It makes
sense to target the system that contains the most users, especially users with sensitive
personal and commercial data. Given Windows’ spread around the world, it makes itself an
appealing target. Macs are also based on UNIX, which has a solid security base. However, Apple products have been under fire
lately. Perhaps their growing popularity has led criminals to change targets, something
the world witnessed during the Celebgate scandal when nude photos of various celebrities were
stolen through iCloud. While the concept of Macs being safer than Windows is up for debate,
there’s no arguing that Mac owners still need to take care with their data. 6. Big Businesses Are Totally Secure Celebgate was a wake-up call to another misconception
— just because a company is an expert in the computing field, it doesn’t mean they’re
immune to cybercrime. It’s easy to imagine big businesses having
an impenetrable wall of firewalls, passwords and security experts. But while the scale
of their security measures are probably very big, they’re by no means impenetrable. One
particularly nasty case occurred when Sony was caught without up-to-date software. A
hack against their PlayStation Network database managed to retrieve sensitive data like user
payment details, and Sony ended up being fined just shy of $400,000 for negligence. 5. Passwords Need To Be Mind-Bendingly Complex You sit down to log onto a website. Hackers
thought they could get into your account, but you’ve got one up on them — you’ve
created a password so convoluted that not even a password cracker’s mind can comprehend
it. Unfortunately, neither can yours. Was it [email protected]$2A, or [email protected]$2B? Thankfully, the days of abysmally complicated
passwords are over. One study showed that passwords that were minimum of eight characters
were cracked 60 percent of the time when put up against a powerful piece of cracking software.
16 character passwords, meanwhile, only saw 12 percent of their passwords cracked. What does this mean? It means that a password
like ‘[email protected]$2A’ might be less secure than, say, ‘IC4nR3m3mb3rTh15’. The length of
a password seems to be the winning factor, so a longer password that’s easy to remember
will do more good than a short, complex password. It’s less frustrating and more secure at
the same time — definitely a win-win for anyone but password crackers. 4. Only Criminals Are Hackers We usually imagine hackers as a person or
small group trying to break open the digital doors on valuable data. It may seem that all
hackers are on the same level as virtual burglars, but it’s also an activity that governments
partake in. Take, for example, the ongoing cyber war between the United States and China.
Relatively untouched by the news, both sides have been trying to take out chunks of each
other’s digital infrastructures for years. In 2013, American spies hacked into China’s
Tsinghua University. No one knows what they were looking for, but it probably wasn’t
a course prospectus. That’s just one example of many, and that’s
just the activity that we know about from people admitting to it. Many more operations
might be taking place right under our noses. As long as they don’t target cat videos
on YouTube, they’ll continue to go relatively unnoticed. 3. Criminals Need Server Access To Do Damage We’ve seen a lot of cases of people gaining
unwanted access to servers and websites, but there are ways someone can attack a website
without breaching any security. One method that’s seen a lot of use is the Direct Denial
of Service (DDoS). A DDoS attack works by flooding a website with requests in a bid
to take it offline. It’s like sending 1000 people into a McDonalds to clog up the line
and make bogus orders. DDoS attacks are popular amongst those who
want to make mischief or send a statement. LulzSec and Lizard Squad are examples of groups
who wanted nothing more than to temporarily take down some of the biggest companies in
the world for a laugh. But if DDoS attacks are performed on a store or other sales website,
they can make a nasty dent in profits by preventing customers from making purchases. The punishments
for DDoS attacks are quite severe, with the above groups already facing jail sentences. 2. All Contact From Friends Is Safe Some old advice that went around the early
days of the Internet was simply not to trust any communications that came from someone
that you don’t know. Anyone you do know was 100 percent trustworthy, and it was fine
to click anything they sent you. But criminals have managed to exploit this piece of advice
for their own good. Knowing that a random stranger offering a link would be quickly
blocked, people have taken to hijacking accounts and using them to message their friends and
family with a link or a file to download. Given that it’s from a friend, it has to
be trustworthy — and that’s when the virus hijacks their account too. One virus takes over a Facebook account and
sends a message to the account’s friends with a link claiming the friend has been spotted
in a YouTube video. Once clicked, the target is told they need to download a plugin to
see it. If the user downloads the plugin, it steals their Facebook and Twitter passwords,
accesses their account and sends the message onwards. Always remember: if your otherwise
prudent friend starts talking in vicious chat-speak and spams links at you, it’s probably not
them anymore. 1. Criminal Websites Can Be Seen By Anyone The news often reports of police shutting
down specific criminal groups on the Internet. It must seem very easy — just type in a
nefarious search term into Google, hit enter and arrest everyone who pops up. Unfortunately,
most criminals (or at least the smart ones) can’t be found at all on Google. To locate
them, you need to take a trip into the Deep Web. The Deep Web itself isn’t a wholly bad thing.
It just refers to webpages you can’t access directly through a Google search for various
reasons. It takes up 90 percent of the Internet, but a lot of it is, say, administrative back
end pages. However, this level of secrecy naturally lends itself to people who want
to keep their online activities hush-hush. Criminal websites on the Deep Web need more
than a username and a password. You need a special browser to handle the specific connections
needed to access the page, as well as encryption to ensure that your connection is untraceable.
Users can then access web pages such as Silk Road, a website that sells drugs, weapons
and other illegal goods. Like the Pirate Bay, authorities are having a hard time keeping
Silk Road down, with alternatives popping up as soon as a previous version is shuttered.
Unless you really feel the need to buy meth online, we wouldn’t recommend checking it out.

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24 thoughts on “Top 10 Ridiculous Misconceptions About Cybercrime”

  • why does every one say the internet is mostly cat videos and pictures, this inst 2011, nobody even watches cat videos anymore

  • ThatGuy WithTheKendama says:

    This one was really good I liked it a lot, great stuff as always, good enough to let the playlist roll on after I pass out and wake up to watch more 😛

  • Some minor errors were noted, but I'm happy to say this was actually well researched and didn't have me rolling my eyes like 99% of these usually do.

  • Well I'm not gonna read all these comments, but I did notice at least an oversimplification in your story. Torrent sites like all the incarnations of Pirate Bay do not host any files at all. They only provide a way for users to connect with others who have either the entire file or parts thereof. While a user is using a torrent link to download a file he is also sharing that file or parts thereof with all others who are engaging in the same activity. Users get in trouble not from downloading files but from sharing those files online even if they don't realize that is what they are doing. Normally this only results in cease and desist letters from your ISP and a demand that you delete any illegal files. The only reliable way to pursue this pastime safely is to use an anonymous proxy which hides your online activity from your ISP and any other interested parties. To the degree that your proxy is dependable, your online business is also protected.

  • Cynically Hopeful says:

    #6 Oh 2015 TopTenz, you called it. Equifax should've watched this video. Also, a warning for anyone watching this in 2018 – don't use Kaspersky software. It's been uncovered that Russian hackers are/were using it to have full access to people's computer.

  • Number 10: you could post that you’re going on vacation on Facebook and wait inside your house with a gun. That’s a legal way of murdering somebody

  • Don't confuse Deep Web and Dark Web. Deep Web is everything on the internet that isn't indexed by Search engines. This means that also things like your ISP's mail server is part of the deep web. As is all conversations going over Skype or Whatsup. The Dark Web however is a hidden encrypted subnet of the internet you need Special Software to access that subnet, which uses a VPN like system to pass encrypted data packages around the network. The net work is called TOR (The Onion Ring as it works by layering security and encryption on top of another). Fun fact, TOR was developed by DARPA and as you can imagine it wasn't designed for criminal use but rather cryminal use is an unintended side affect. Much like how unmarked Dollar Bills are used by drug rings for transactions.

    Piracy however is mainly done on the Deep Web. Torrent, newsgroups eMule etc all use the deep web as data transfer, due to it's encryption and layered system is very slow on the Dark Web.

  • Evelene Maye says:

    Also another myth: software from TRUSTED sources are always safe…
    Hackers can gain access to the source's web hosting server and replace the legitimate software with malware that people will blindly trust. This happened to the developer of the program called "Classic Shell" had its Fosshub account hacked and the software replaced by a virus that targeted the MBR (which is essentially the part of the Disk drive that tells the bios what and where the OS is.) It has been fixed though.

  • Stephen Wright says:

    Bad show groaning about installing Linux. I'm a Linux user with a Mac (home power user and tech support) background. I think it's obscene that Microsoft operates under the presumption that they're the only game in town. I always tell people that they're better off with Linux than either of the other ones. I'm an atheist but this is something I'm most definitely religious about.

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