Best Cyber Resource Center

In today’s increasingly connected world, cyber crime has become a growing concern for individuals and businesses alike. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report 2023, there were over 880,000 reported cyber crime incidents in the United States alone. That’s up a staggering 22% increase in cyber crime compared to 2022. Cyber crime losses in 2023 exceeded $12.5 billion, up from $6.9 billion in 2022. This does not include cyber crime or losses that went unreported.

Top Cyber Crimes 2023

  • Investment fraud emerged as the costliest type of crime tracked by the IC3 in 2023, with losses rising from $3.31 billion in 2022 to $4.57 billion in 2023 – a 38% increase.
  • Cryptocurrency-related investment fraud saw a 53% increase, reaching $3.96 billion in losses.
  • Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams ranked as the second-costliest crime, with 21,489 complaints amounting to $2.9 billion in reported losses.
  • Tech support scams claimed the third spot, with older adults accounting for more than half of the losses in this category.
  • Ransomware attacks also witnessed a resurgence in 2023. The number of complaints increased by 18% to 2,825. Losses surged by 74% to $59.6 million.
    • The top five ransomware variants affecting critical infrastructure sectors were Lockbit, ALPHV/Blackcat, Akira, Royal, and Black Basta.

How a RAT Prevents Cyber Crime Losses

To combat these threats, the IC3’s Recovery Asset Team (RAT) played a crucial role in assisting victims and fostering partnerships. In 2023, RAT initiated the Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC) on 3,008 incidents with potential losses of $758.05 million. RAT successfully froze $538.39 million – a 71% success rate.

The report emphasizes the importance of reporting cyber incidents to the IC3, as this information helps the FBI pursue cybercriminals and prevent future attacks. Victims are encouraged to contact their financial institutions immediately upon recognizing fraudulent activity. File a detailed complaint with the IC3.

By staying informed about the latest cyber threats and implementing proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

How to Protect Your House and Assets from Cyber Fraud

As technology continues to advance, it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive steps to protect yourself from falling victim to cyber criminals. To protect oneself from falling victim to cyber crime, the FBI recommends using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, keeping software and operating systems up to date, being cautious of phishing scams, using a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing public Wi-Fi, and regularly backing up important data.

Here are some things you can to do to improve your cyber security and safeguard your digital life:

1. Use strong and unique passwords

One of the most basic yet effective ways to protect your online accounts is by using strong, unique passwords. A recent survey by Google found that 65% of people reuse the same password for multiple accounts. That makes them more vulnerable to hacking. Ensure your passwords are at least 12 characters long. The should contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessable information, such as birthdays or pet names. Consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely.

2. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone or a fingerprint scan, in addition to your password. According to Microsoft, 2FA can prevent 99.9% of automated attacks on your accounts. Enable 2FA wherever possible, especially for sensitive accounts like email, banking, and social media.

3. Keep your software and operating systems up to date

Cyber criminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain unauthorized access to devices and networks. In fact, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reports that around 80% of cyber attacks could be prevented by regularly updating software and operating systems. Enable automatic updates for your devices and applications to ensure you have the latest security patches and fixes.

4. Be cautious of phishing scams

Phishing scams are a common tactic used by cyber criminals to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) recorded over 300,000 unique phishing attacks in December 2022 alone. Be wary of unsolicited emails, messages, or calls that ask for personal information or prompt you to click on suspicious links. Always verify the legitimacy of the sender before engaging with their content.

5. Use a virtual private network (VPN)

When using public Wi-Fi networks, your online activities can be easily intercepted by cyber criminals. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it harder for hackers to steal your data. NordVPN’s research shows that 68% of Americans use public Wi-Fi, but only 31% use a VPN to protect their privacy. Invest in a reputable VPN service and ensure it’s active whenever you connect to public networks.

6. Regularly back up your data

Ransomware attacks, where cyber criminals encrypt your files and demand payment for their release, have become increasingly common. Sophos reports that 51% of organizations were hit by ransomware in 2022. To minimize the impact of such attacks, regularly back up your important data to an external hard drive or cloud storage service. This ensures you can restore your files without giving in to the attacker’s demands.

By implementing these proactive measures and staying informed about the latest cyber threats, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to cyber crime. Remember, digital security is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and vigilance. Stay safe out there!

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