You may have heard of the term “Cybercrime” but you may be unaware as to what it means. A cybercrime is a criminal activity that is perpetrated online. Cybercrimes usually involve attacks on personal computers or business networks. The aim of a cybercrime can vary, but is usually one of the following:

- To steal private information such as credit card details
- To steal sensitive data such as government documents
- To steal funds directly from online financial accounts
- To cause disruption and harm to large organisations

In the last 5-10 years we have seen an increase in cybercrime as technologies have developed. During the infancy of the internet, cybercrimes were usually perpetrated by individuals who simply wanted to test their hacking skills.

Today however, cybercrimes are carried out by organised criminal gangs who use their skills to wreak chaos on the internet and steal millions from well-known organisations. Even powerful businesses such as Yahoo, eBay and Target have suffered at the hands of cybercriminals.

Cybercrimes come in many different forms and as online technology evolves, so does the complexity and severity of cyber-attacks. Some common types of cyber-attacks include DoS (denial of service), malware, phishing, ransomware and viruses.

Cyber-attacks can cripple computer systems and result in a loss of data. If you are not protected sufficiently against cyber-attacks, you can suffer lasting damage and the implications for businesses can be severe. The most common defenses include firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware software, but some good habits like updating all apps and the operating system and using secure passwords also help big time. A slightly more advanced, as in stronger, more reliable and better, and not necessarily technically demanding form of protection is the use of protected private network, which filters harmful attempts before they get into any proximity to your device.

Now that cybercrimes are one of the most prevalent forms of crime in modern society, our governments and law enforcement have had to drastically change their approach. Governments in countries such as the USA, UK and Germany have created specific cyber divisions who deal exclusively with cybercrime. These divisions are used to tackle cybercrime and look at new digital threats as they emerge.

Cyber crimes are equally on a rise in Africa with very little solutions in place to tackle this. Understanding some facts about cyber crimes can put you in a better place to handle situations related to cyber crimes by yourself as well as taking into consideration safety.
The infographic below includes some astounding facts and figures relating to cybercrime in the 21st century:                   

 Infographic Source: Best VPNs
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