Facebook is the Place to Go for Cybercrime Services
If you are a regular Facebook user, you will have come across comments and opinions reflecting bullying, nationalism and the opposition of life-saving vaccinations. Let’s not forget about groups promoting the theory that the Earth is flat. Concerning, though that may be, users are used to seeing such content online, but will be shocked to find out that this is just skimming the surface of what is really going on.
Organized illegal activity is increasingly common in the form of Facebook groups, targeting unsuspecting individuals left, right and center. Keep reading to find out how these cybercriminals function and how you can protect yourself from dangerous online attacks.
Types of Cybercrime
It is predicted that by the year 2021, cybercrime will have accumulated a global cost of $6 trillion. According to IBM President and CEO, Ginni Rometty,
“We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time. It is the world’s new natural resource. It is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true – even inevitable – then cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”
So, what is cybercrime? It comes in various forms, and in order to protect yourself from it, you have to know what you’re dealing with.
Hackers use computers, laptops or smart devices in order to engage in hacking. Although this skill is not illegal, the crimes that go along with penetrating other systems are criminal offenses and hackers can be jailed if discovered to be dabbling in such illegal activity.
Online Identity Fraud
Though various forms of hacking including malware injection and email phishing amongst others, online identity theft is one of the most destructive forms of cybercrime. Hackers use these tools to steal your personal information including your contact details, addresses, social security numbers, and bank account numbers as well as credit card details. This increasingly used form of cybercrime is not only a hassle, it can also leave you drained of your finances.
Using electronic devices and online platforms in order to find out your movements and location, cyberstalking can lead to harassment, blackmail and in its worst form can lead to physical violence and even murder. Online stalking is a criminal offense and is a punishable offense.
This means any of your data including files, images, documents or any other data are stolen by a third party with the help of malware being injected into your computer. Your information is then held ransom until you pay an amount which the hacker demands. If you do not pay to get your data back, it is locked or even deleted, never to see the light of day again.
Businesses fall victim to ransomware every 40 seconds with global damages predicted to reach $11.5 billion by the end of 2019 according to Cybersecurity Ventures.
You know about the days when that charming Nigerian prince was asking you for money, but online scams have gotten much more sophisticated since then. Online scams work by appealing to an individual’s sense of decency, many times acting under the pretense of a reputable charity. Your donation often falls into the hands of a cybercriminal instead of cancer research.
Other instances include criminals posing as your bank asking you to transfer money to another account or different back, using your information to trick you into believing them. This is something your bank would never ask of you, so if you have any suspicions do not take the requested action. Instead, go to your bank and speak to an authorized person there.
Facebook Cybercrime Services
Often used to connect with people we may not see every day, Facebook is known for being a platform bringing people together. Additionally, many people use Facebook to find out the latest news. Unfortunately, with that comes an array of negative feedback and disinformation being spread by people everywhere.
Recently, it has been discovered that there is an increase in Facebook groups promoting cybercrime services. Talos security group found a total of 74 such groups which endeavored to carry out not only unethical but also illegal activities. Some of these groups even acted as marketplaces for those purchasing, selling and trading stolen credit card data or hacked account details. In addition to this, some groups even went as far as selling tools for phishing and spamming others.
The frightening part of all this? There were 385,000 users spanning across these 74 groups. Within these groups you can find users selling credit card data ranging from $7-15, the latter of which includes Verified-by-Visa protection cards.
Basically, you can find anything from CW numbers, email phishing scams and fake IDs in the one place. One example includes a PDF file looking like it comes from an Apple-related purchase. Just by clicking on the link to cancel or view this order you can be exposed to a phishing website.
Thankfully, Facebook has deleted as many as 120 groups and more than 300,000 members of the social media platform, putting a stop to these illicit activities. Well, for a few minutes anyway. The problem with groups like these is that as many times as you shut them down, they will keep popping up, with fake accounts being created by users regularly.
Facebook now has around 30,000 people working on issues such as safety and security, a number which has tripled in the past few years. This, unfortunately, is not enough because cybercrime is becoming the crime of choice and an uphill battle for those attempting to stop it. Additionally, other popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are also breeding grounds for online criminal activity.
So, what are you supposed to do to keep yourself safe? Luckily, there are a number of simple steps you can take in order to make yourself invisible to rampant cybercriminals.
3 Simple Steps to Keep You Safe Online
#1 Use a VPN
As we now know, cybercrime comes in many shapes and forms, many of which we cannot see coming. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an invaluable tool in protecting yourself from cybercrime. Using public WiFi when making online bank transactions, sending emails or using social media platforms like Facebook, your sensitive information is a free-for-all, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the help of a VPN, you can prevent this from happening. Encrypting your information and making you undetectable to third parties or even your ISP is what a reputable VPN service can provide you.
In addition to keeping your online activity anonymous and safe from cyber predators here are some more features you can look forward to:
- Unlock gaming and TV show streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime
- Strong encryption
- Bypass ISP throttling
- Avoid ISP monitoring and tracking
- Easy setup
- Trusted military-grade protection
- Circumvent any campus or office firewall
- Malware protection
- Protect your data from hackers
- Large amount of servers
- No logs
- Fantastic customer service
One of the best VPNs on the market at the moment is ExpressVPN. Offering more than 2,000 servers across the globe in almost 100 countries, ExpressVPN has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands which means your anonymity will never be compromised. When you see what else this VPN provider offers it is easy to understand that they are simply the best around. When you sign up with ExpressVPN you can expect:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Ultra-fast streaming speeds
- Compatible with Android TV (Box) and Fire TV
- Apps available for every device
- Hides your streaming activity
- No connection logs
- No activity logs
- P2P possibility
- Ping times that are minimally affected
- ExpressVPN works extremely well in high censorship countries
- Military grade encryption
- Large international server network
- 30-Day money back guarantee
- Outstanding customer service
- 99% uptime guarantee
ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan!
#2 Use a Secure WiFi Connection
Free public WiFi is a tool we all love to use once and again. Our advice? Stop it. Unless you have a VPN and great antivirus software on your device, public WiFi is often a cybercriminal’s best friend. Whether traveling the world or even hanging out at your local café, checking emails, chances are there is someone keeping tabs on your online activity as soon as you connect to public WiFi.
How? Setting up fake hotspots or fake websites, hackers use malware in order to infiltrate your device and find out much more than you’re willing to share including:
- The websites you visit
- Your location
- Personal communication (chats and messages)
- Who you are communicating with
- Your documents
- Your photos
Stop using free public WiFi if you want your private information to remain private, or invest in a VPN and you won’t have to worry about criminals monitoring your online activity.
#3 Use an Antivirus Program
Keeping yourself and your family safe online is simple with the help of antivirus software. Hackers are not only capable of bugging and entering your computers and smart devices, but can also let themselves in via your router. Transferring sensitive data from one device to another can mean that third parties can find out a lot about your location, communications and even your banking details without your knowledge.
Antivirus software will be able to detect and remove malware, offering you real-time internet protection to stop threats in their wake. Additionally, your AV will block phishing websites, remove spyware and adware as well as protect your emails and build a powerful firewall which will easily block incoming threats.
The Bottom Line
Protecting yourself from cybercriminals is next to impossible if you only rely on the naked eye. Remaining vigilant is great, but it will not be able to keep you safe from tech-savvy hackers. As we know, cybercrime is on the rise, and with 2.32 billion active users, Facebook is the perfect place for criminals to target vulnerable users.
Cybercrime is a punishable offense in many countries, but with so many different situations occurring it is difficult to pinpoint and eradicate this sort of activity. Facebook security spans as many as 30,000 people, but the frightening thing is that it is not enough to stop groups and individuals offering cybercrime services.
Take matters into your own hands and make sure you are never a target. Invest in antivirus software, don’t use public WiFi and most importantly, find a VPN that works for you and have a carefree online experience.