Preventing Cybercrime

In almost everything we do, we use the Internet from morning till evening. As computers and smartphones spread widely and the Internet became closely related to modern life, cybercrime is increasing rapidly.

In particular, as the coronavirus pandemic forced non-face-to-face situations such as telecommuting and online classes, our society is becoming overdependent on the Internet. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike found that intrusions threatening organizations’ cybersecurity across the globe grew 400 percent in 2019 and 2020 combined. Cybersecurity Ventures estimated that if it were measured as a country, then cybercrime—which is predicted to inflict damages totaling 6 trillion USD globally in 2021—would be the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China.

Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years, reaching 10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from 3 trillion USD in 2015. This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, risks the incentives for innovation and investment, is exponentially larger than the damage inflicted from natural disasters in a year, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.

Cyberbullying is also a big issue that cannot be overlooked. Cyberbullying refers to harassment inflicted on others in various forms in cyberspace. It is contact-free, anonymous, permanent, and spreadable. Perpetrators may not feel guilty or even aware that they are using violence because they cannot see the victim’s pain with their own eyes and are obscured by anonymity. However, texts, images, or videos online are easily circulated and cannot be easily erased, adding to the pain of the victim.

Unlike conventional violence that requires physical force, in cyberspace, anyone can become a victim or perpetrator and the victim cannot escape from violence because it is not restricted by time and space, making the damage more severe. On top of that, the problem in cyberspace is that it is difficult for others to arbitrate or impose legal sanctions on cyber problems because it is difficult for others to notice. According to a study comparing cyberbullying with traditional violence, cyberbullying is becoming more common and occurring more frequently. The rate of committing suicide after being bullied is also higher in cyberbullying.

As social media is actively used and the influence of the Internet is growing, cyberbullying is on the rise. As countries took lockdown measures one after another due to the coronavirus, students were unable to go to school and came to spend more time on the social media. Some students said they exercised cyberbullying during the lockdown period. Technology was developed to bring convenience to mankind, but there is definitely the dark side of convenience.

How to Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime

Today, as most of social activities such as finance, economy, education, and entertainment are digitalized, one-fourth of the world’s population is living in cyber space, spending most of their day with the social media. Although the digital society made a rapid growth because of its convenience and speed as a strong point, serious social issues such as financial institution hacking, child sexual exploitation, and personal identity theft have increased tremendously. Technology develops rapidly, but people must have the sense of ethics and security technology.

How to protect yourself against cybercrime

  1. Keep software and operating system updated.
  2. Use anti-virus software and keep it updated.
  3. Use strong passwords and use two-factor authentication.
  4. Do not give out personal information online and keep it safe.
  5. Back up data and information regularly to reduce the damage in case of a ransomware attack.
  6. Do not click on the links in spam emails or untrusted websites.
  7. Do not respond to suspicious calls but contact the person directly to confirm it.

If you are experiencing cyberbullying, we recommend you to respond as follows:

  1. Do not react emotionally to what others said.
  2. Tell the bully that you don’t like.
  3. Keep the evidence.
  4. Report to a person who can help and ask for help.
  5. Ask the ICT service provider to delete the post.
  6. Report directly to the cyber investigation agency.

During the pandemic, viruses are not the only things that we ought to watch out for. We need to take extra care of our mental health as much as our physical health. Cyberspace is virtual, but it doesn’t mean that humans are virtual, too. We are exposed to cybercrime, but we should keep in mind that we ourselves can become perpetrators without knowing it. Since we spend most of the day on the Internet, sufficient education and study are required on the Internet ethics and etiquette. In addition, we need to be extra careful of using copyrighted materials or of rumors.

The 4th industrial revolution is proceeding, based on the Internet, and the development of technology can be an excellent response to the pandemic, but now we all need to make efforts to avoid social harm.