The Rise in Cyber Crime

By: Matt Deighton January 19, 2021

With the rise in crime affecting more and more Americans, there are ways to protect yourself. Information and action can keep you safe in a time when informational crime is on the rise.

Motor vehicle theft rates nationwide have dropped by 66% in the last 30 years, and plummeted as much as 96% in places like New York City. Why? Simple technologies have made it more difficult, such as microchip keys, remote engine shut off, and the ability to track the location of a stolen vehicle. You see, criminals are not overly sophisticated. They are looking for easy opportunities to exploit weaknesses, constantly moving the next easiest thing. Thief’s stopped stealing horses when the car was invented. They are criminals of opportunity, and they’ve now moved off the streets and onto your computers.

The majority of criminals will target the most vulnerable. They are looking for the easy money, because for the most part, it’s a lazy occupation. The goal is to steal as much as possible without being caught. Homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized. In much the same way, today’s cyber criminals are closely related to the criminals who walk down the street checking every car door handle to see which one is unlocked.

The largest percentage, 38%, of cyber attacks came from phishing emails. These are emails sent out to thousands of people with the hope that a few people will click on a hazardous link or share sensitive information. This puts your own information at risk, and if you are working for a company, it could potentially put all of your customers at risk as well. Cyber crimes have increased by 300% during the pandemic. The FBI attributes the spike to the increased online activity over the last year. Google announced they are blocking more than 100 million phishing emails every day. Online crimes are attractive because it’s not only hard to find the criminal, it’s hard to even know you’ve had your information stolen to begin with.

Thirty years ago the best data security advice was to shred your old documents. In today’s world, threats come from gaps in network security, inadequate education, stolen devices, malware and ransomware. Every employee/family member, company you work with, and outdated program is now potentially the unlocked car door for every criminal walking down the street. With that in mind, it’s not hard to see why cyber crime is on the rise.

The problem can seem overwhelming at times, but the answer is similar to the reason car thefts have declined. A few simple best practices and technological help, and anyone can greatly decrease the likelihood of a cyber crime. Have regular cyber audits, train your employees (or family members) about phishing scams and how to avoid them, test the firewall (or home network) for vulnerabilities. With many cyber criminals looking for the easy target, working with an expert is critical to help you stay cyber safe and off the radar of cyber criminals.