Cybercrime is perhaps the most devastating, yet most preventable, form of crime. Victims can have their lives utterly destroyed by a hacker. Those same victims often share a part in the blame because it could have been easily prevented by using some common sense and utilizing online security tools that are freely available to all.
Unfortunately, many of the rules that help protect people from cybercrime go out the window as soon as we bring social or mobile into the picture. Both areas are still largely unexplored with hackers creating new malware all the time. It's hard to keep up with the ever evolving social and mobile scene, and it shows in Norton's statistics.
Norton recently published their annual Cybercrime Report and the results are a little terrifying. It shows that hackers are getting smarter with how they use social or mobile to their advantage. It's sometimes hard to differentiate a scam versus a legitimate request when on a mobile phone.
Of course, our first problem lies in something very simple. The study found that two-thirds of adults use a mobile device to browse the Internet. The same number of adults don't have mobile security software installed on their device. It's especially problematic when 31 percent of respondents claim to have received a text message from a stranger that contained a link. A mobile anti-virus would normally be able to scan the link before you clicked on it to make sure it was safe.
It gets scarier when it comes to the more personal nature of social networks. Four out of 10 people have reported being a victim of cybercrime while using a social network. Out of that, one of out of six users found that somebody hacked into their profile and posted as them.
That last statistic is by far the most frightening as attacks can now come from people you normally trust. You may see that your friend is linking to something like, "You won't believe what this man did to save his dog." It sounds like a good story and you're more than willing to install the Facebook to read just a single story. Before you know it, you're infected with malware that came about through a simple social engineering Facebook hack.
Once again, it's important to remember the number one rule when dealing with potential malware - use common sense. Never allow a Facebook application to install anything on your browser unless it's from a trusted source. Such applications could still be malware in disguise regardless of who sent it. Your best friend could have had their profile taken over by a reprehensible Internet bandit.
If anything, Norton's study shows that we must always be vigilant. Norton is obviously wanting you to buy their anti-virus software, but most anti-viruses, even the free ones, do a pretty good job of keeping your PC secure. As for mobile and social attacks, use a mobile anti-virus app and stay vigilant.