Cybercrime basics…

The term “ Cybercrime” is broadly defined to include any criminal activity committed on the internet.  Almost everyone has at least a basic understanding about online identity theft, probably the most common cybercrime.  However, there appears to be considerable confusion regarding some of the other basic cybercrimes and their definitions.  I recently visited the website of a firm where the terms phishing and spoofing were incorrectly used interchangeably!

Some of the most common cybercrimes are:

Email spoofing – The forgery of an e-mail header in a manner that the message appears to have originated from somewhere other than the actual source.   Widely used by spammers, a spoofed e-mail may appear to be from a legitimate source asking for personal information, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

Phishing – The sending of an email to a recipient in an attempt to scam the recipient into revealing private information. The email contains a link to what appears the website of a legitimate enterprise but is only a fake version of the organization’s website.  When the recipient visits the fake website, the recipient is asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers that the legitimate organization already has.

Cookie Poisoning – Some websites store cookies on your computer’s hard drive to authenticate your identity, speed up your transactions, monitor your behavior, and personalize your website experience. Cookie poisoning is the modification of a cookie by an attacker to gain unauthorized access to private information about the user.  The attacker may use this private information for identity theft and to gain access to the user’s existing accounts.

Wardriving – War driving is the process of traveling around using a Wi-Fi enabled computer looking for wireless access point signals that can be used to get network access.  The most common use of wardriving is to steal somebody else’s Internet access.

Malware “malicious software” – The developing of a program or file that is harmful to a computer, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware.

Pod Slurping – The unauthorized download of data from a computer to a storage device such as a MP3 player, flash drive or iPod.  This technique is commonly used by data thieves to steal contents from corporate computers.

Cyber stalking – Cyber stalking is a crime in which the attacker harasses a victim using electronic communications such as email, instant messaging, or forum posts. Unlike a spammer, a cyberstalker targets and usually threatens a specific victim.

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