Cybercrime – how to protect yourself from it?

Over the Internet it is possible to carry out illegal activities, through which you can suffer damage. This is also referred to as cybercrime or Internet crime.

In many cases, an attempt is made to infiltrate your computer with a virus in order to locate sensitive data. Cracking passwords and usernames is one method of gaining access to the computer or gaining access to email accounts and online accounts (Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, online banking). The stolen information can be used to commit crimes that have more or less serious consequences for you.

With your Amazon account data you could, for example, shop and have the goods sent to a different delivery address. The same applies to Ebay and other online merchants you are logged into. In online banking, there is a two-factor authentication to perform a wire transfer. If an attacker gains access to your online account, it does not necessarily mean that he can also carry out bank transfers. Most banks require you to scan a graphic before completing a transfer to get a valid TAN or to get the TAN sent directly to your smartphone. Only your smartphone is authorized to perform the task.

Unfortunately, there is no one hundred percent protection to guard against cybercrime. However, there are some things you can consider and do to minimize the chances of attack and make the attacker’s job much more difficult.

Secure password for logging on to the computer

You should use a secure password to log in to your computer or laptop. Passwords that can be found in the dictionary can be cracked by hackers very easily. A secure password must consist of at least 8 characters. Please note that you have to use capital letters, numbers and special characters. If you find it difficult to find a suitable password, you can also use a password generator.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

This will randomly assign a password for you using the predefined rules. You can further increase security by changing the password at regular intervals (6 months).

If you have difficulties remembering such complex passwords, this approach may help you. Generate a password using a meaningful phrase. "I drive my car to work every morning at 8 a.m." Put the initial letters together and just append a special character to it. The password would look like this: Ifjmu8umdaza# The password has 13 characters and includes upper and lower case letters, a number and a special character. Thus it is very secure and difficult to find out.

Regularly install Windows and virus scanner updates

To ensure that your computer is well protected against viruses and malware, I can only recommend that you regularly install Windows Update. The installation of Windows updates takes some time, but can be automated in the background. To do this Start and click on the function Settings.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

In the lower section of the window you will find the option Update and security.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Click on this function and check if the updates are automatically loaded and installed. To do this select Advanced options.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Now you have the option to set the installation type to automatic. The updates will now be installed automatically and if necessary the system will be restarted. You will be notified before rebooting.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Most virus scanners update the virus signatures automatically. If you do not know exactly where the setting automatic updates of virus signatures is to customize, I recommend the default settings of the manufacturer. You will be notified when the virus signatures are out of date or when a virus scanner update is required.

Create Windows backups

If your computer is infected by a virus and there is no other way to reinstall the PC, it would be very helpful if you can import a current backup. I create backups of my Windows installation at regular intervals. This way I can restore a data status with little effort, where the supposed error or virus has not yet caused any damage. The settings for these options can be found at Start> Settings> Update and Security> Backup.

Back up data to an external hard drive or a NAS

I backup my personal data (photos, videos, documents, music) on an external hard drive and on a NAS. If my Windows computer is infected by a virus, destroyed or encrypts all data, I can prevent greater damage by outsourcing my personal files. However, there is still a possibility that the virus spreads over the network and jumps to the NAS. In order to be prepared for this case, I also store my data on an external hard disk, which is only used when I want to renew the backup or restore old data. I keep this hard disk in a safe place, where it is also protected against other damages (water damage, fire, theft…).

Restore data

Your computer has become the target of an attack! Keep calm and do not be tempted to make rash decisions! If you fail to identify the causes or apply helpful countermeasures, you should seek professional computer crime help. Such specialized companies have other technical possibilities to analyze cyberattacks and recover data in case of emergency.

In the first step after an attack I would try to remove the virus and check if I have lost data. Do not be afraid to reinstall the operating system in case of emergency. Most programs and settings can be restored quickly. A full backup will save you a lot of work in this case.

Do not open unknown e-mail attachments

In many cases, a computer is infected via malware. Often these get onto the computer via e-mail attachments, when calling up infected websites or when downloading malicious files. It is strongly advised not to open unknown email attachments. Account statements or reminders are not sent by e-mail. Do not be fooled by such e-mails. I would safely ignore messages promising a profit in e-mails and move them to my spam folder. Invoices are often sent by online merchants. Normally I have a good overview of what goods I have ordered and only open matching invoices from the merchants. Make sure that the invoice is in PDF format. You should be careful with EXE or zip data. In exceptional cases, it does not hurt to inquire with the sender.

Secure password on the router

The router connects to the Internet and your network. The router is used to connect all devices (smartphone, PC, laptop, WLAN sockets, Amazon F’ire TV, AV receiver, surveillance camera, WLAN printer) in your network that communicate with each other or connect to the Internet. In the router a lot of information about the network is visible. IP and MAC addresses, names, operating systems, access times, etc. can be viewed there. If an unauthorized person has gained access to your router, the information can be used to launch further attacks on the network (connected devices). That is why it is very important to use a secure password for your router as well.

With the FritzBox the existing password can be changed quickly and easily. Log in to the FritzBox. To do this, enter the IP address (or name) in the Internet browser. A login screen will appear where you can enter the current password (if applicable). also user name) must be entered.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

At the top right (icon with three vertical dots) you have the option to change the current password.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Again, use a very secure password to make any attack attempts via the password difficult or impossible.

Use WPA2 encryption for WLAN access

To achieve the highest possible security, set WPA2 encryption on your WLAN router. With the FritzBox you can find this option under WLAN> Security.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

The WLAN password used must consist of at least eight characters. Use upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters to make the password very secure.

Activate firewall

Activate the firewall in the router to provide more security against hacker attacks. I can fully recommend to activate the Windows-Firewall as well. In the default settings it is turned on and ready to use. You can quickly check the Windows Firewall setting by going to Windows Search (Windows 10, box to the right of the Start button) Firewall type. Now open the Windows Firewall (top option in the picture).

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Now the current status of the Windows firewall is displayed. The green signs with the white tick inform you that the firewall is enabled. This is how it may look like in your case.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Set up port sharing sensibly

If you want to reach a computer or a service in your network from the Internet, in most cases you have to set up port sharing. By sharing a port you have for example the possibility to get access to your NAS. Also the control via SSH or RDP enables you to administrate Windows and Linux computers remotely.

With my router I can quickly and easily add shares for devices. Make these settings only if you have the appropriate background knowledge to do so.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

A shared port also always offers a possibility of attack on the network or individual computers. Here my motto is "less is more…".

Use password vault

Many users use a green lock for their online accounts (Facebook, Ebay, Amazon, Instagram etc.).) the same usernames and passwords, because it is easier to remember only one password. The danger, however, is that if someone has gained unauthorized access to an account, they can quickly take control of other online accounts by doing further research, and thus cause a lot of damage.

You can conveniently store your passwords and user names in a password vault. The password vault is secured by a master password or your fingerprint. I have had good experiences with the app Enpass. You can use the vault on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux.

You have a choice of several elements (login, credit card, password, etc.).), which you can add quickly and easily.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

This password vault also offers the possibility to generate passwords. The settings are easy to use and clearly presented.

Cybercrime - how to protect yourself from it?

Online banking and shopping on secured websites (https://)

I would do online banking only via secured internet pages (https). The connection between your computer and the bank’s server is encrypted via https. Whether a page is encrypted can be recognized quickly and easily. On my iPhone, the Deutsche Bank page is displayed in the Safari browser with a green lock in the address bar.

In the Google Chrome browser also a green lock and additionally the notification appears Secure.

When shopping online, you should also ensure a secure connection (https), as address and payment information is exchanged during the ordering process.

I would not order anything from an online merchant without https encryption. I don’t know of any online store that doesn’t have encryption in place. Online shopping has become very secure in the meantime. I have not yet had a negative experience (in terms of data manipulation) with online retailers.

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