The Rise of Cybercrimes during the Pandemic

Written by Mike Boutwell

September 18, 2022

Cybercrime is any criminal act that comprises a computer or a device connected to a network. It is also called Computer crime as a computer is utilised to perform illegal activities such as fraud, trafficking, stealing identities and breaching privacy. The increase in the use of technology and the easy access to the Internet has led to a rapid surge in cybercrime.

Cybercrime during COVID

However, the pandemic of COVID-19 that entailed massive lockdown showcased an unbelievable increase in cybercrime. Individuals spending most of their time on devices resulted in a greater percentage of cybercrime. Cybercriminals took advantage of the poor economic conditions to earn a better income by scamming people online. Countries throughout the world reported a peak in cybercrime during pandemic.

Types of cybercrime

In Italy, the Polizia Postale that is responsible for cybercrimes stated that various types of fraud primarily occurring through advertisements, emails, fake websites, phone calls and messages were the most common. BlackNET RAT, is another program that attracts people by promising them to safeguard their information but instead invades their privacy enabling the cybercriminals to take control of their computers.

Another type of Cybercrime is voice phishing. This is the method of fooling people into telling their personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers via ambiguous calls. According to Google, 149,900 cases of phishing were reported in January 2022 which increased to 522,000 in February marking a 350% rise in cybercrime. Cybercrimes are diverse in nature, ranging from hostile domains, and ransomware to malware. A number of seemingly valid domains that consist of the terms coronavirus or covid-19 are created by cybercriminals to carry out illegal campaigns.

Being aware of the terrible economic scenario, these individuals offer fake investment opportunities causing the issuance of warnings by Interpol. In England, a greater number of scams emerged with the criminals forwarding fake emails regrading government grant schemes to steal money. Some hackers profited by encouraging individuals to install ransomware and then requesting large sums of money to recover important files.

Cognizant, an information technology company reported an invasion of Maze, a ransomware cyberattack that enabled the hackers to threaten the company to pay if they wanted to avoid the release of company data. A survey by Verizon revealed that the approximate cost of data invasion increased to $21,659 per incident with economic losses ranging from $800 to $650,000.

Similarly, these individuals also took control over health and hospital records preventing patients from gaining access to them until a certain amount was paid. An increase in the intensity of cyber crimes involving children was also observed. As they relied on e-schooling, children became more vulnerable to internet-related threats like exposure to improper content.

In conclusion, it is apparent that cybercrime is a crucial threat that endangers the lives of many people. However, incorporating preventive measures like using stronger passwords, avoiding clicking on ambiguous links, using a better home network and updating the software of the devices can reduce cybercrime. Such steps are now indispensable for people around the world.

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