When talking about cybercrimes, the first thing that comes to mind are those hooded people hacking somebody’s computer. While this is a valid example, cybercrime is more than that. In a nutshell, cybercrime refers to anything illegal that’s done over the Internet.
If you think cybercriminals only target companies, governments, and high-profile personalities, then you’re mistaken. Even ordinary Internet users like you can be a victim of cybercrime. While you can’t stop cybercriminals from doing their thing, you can avoid their attacks with sophisticated tools like firewalls, antiviruses, and anti-malware. Another convenient tool that you should include in your arsenal is a VPN.
Short for Virtual Private Network, VPN will encrypt your data and secure your connection. If you believe you don’t need a VPN, check out these cyber crime statistics, and learn how VPNs can protect you against different online threats.
Cyber crime statistics on hacking and cyberattacks
Hackers are on the prowl for vulnerable people. Whenever you send, share, or access data over the public Internet, you’re exposing yourself to hackers, eavesdroppers, and other malicious users who spy on what you do online. Here are five relevant stats:
- Malicious hackers attack computers and networks every 39 seconds!
- A cyberattacker can stay within a network for 146 days before being detected.
- Around 80% of US consumers have a home network, and 10% of these consumers have experienced a cyberattack.
- North America is the most popular target of cyberattackers, with 57% of data breaches and 72% of exposed records happened in this region.
- 43% of business-related cyberattacks were against small companies.
These five facts show how active cyberattackers are. VPNs can protect you from them by routing your connection through an encrypted tunnel. In case a hacker does manage to intercept your connection and access your data, they would find your data useless because it’s encrypted. Make sure you turn on your VPN first before sending a private email, transmitting sensitive data, going on social media, or accessing bank accounts, especially on a public Wi-Fi network.
Cyber crime statistics on data breaches and ID theft
The moment your data is breached, identity thieves can readily use your data for malicious purposes. They can use your personally-identifiable information to make purchases, commit fraud, or even apply for loans, all under your name. Here are some scary facts about data breaches and stolen identities:
- In 2016, 791 million identities were stolen in the US alone. Social security numbers and credit card data were the top targets of ID thieves, as these are easy to steal and monetize.
- In 2018, an estimated 1,244 data breaches had occurred. These led to the exposure of 446,52 million records, up by 148% increase from 2017.
- According to a 2019 Verizon report, 43% of data breaches involved small businesses as victims, and 71% of breaches were financially motivated. The most compromised data include personal data, medical information, and payment details.
- Buying personal data on the dark web is easier than ever. According to Bromium, social security information, birthdates, and home addresses can be purchased for as low as $3.
With these facts, imagine how your precious information can be easily sold for fraudulent purposes. The good news is that you can prevent your data from being breached by starting with some simple steps, like changing passwords often with a password manager, and using a VPN when browsing online.
Individual users are not the only ones who can benefit from VPNs. In light of the worst data breaches in history, companies should also take advantage of VPNs to protect not only their data but also those of their clients. VPNs will provide a safe zone where people can avoid security breaches and other cyberattacks. Here are two which we recommend:
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Cyber crime statistics on malware and ransomware
Malware (short for malicious software) are computer programs designed to intrude and damage computers. There are many malware types. One of them is ransomware which encrypts files so that the file owner cannot access them.
Here are three alarming stats about ransomware:
- Among malware-related data breaches across the globe, 39% were caused by ransomware.
- 158,921 users had their devices and data encrypted with ransomware in the second quarter of 2018.
- Mobile ransomware increased by 33% in 2018.
To put these numbers into perspective, be aware that cybercriminals can use ransomware to hold your valuable files hostage. They will only decrypt and release your files once you pay the ransom money.
While a VPN can’t entirely prevent a malware or ransomware attack—that’s the job of anti-malware and other security tools—VPNs can still keep your data and online activities secure by encrypting everything you do, this prevents man-in-the-middle-attacks. Many VPNs also have built in NAT firewalls, and come with some malware fighting features!
A few VPNs, like NordVPN, have built-in malware protection as part of their features. If you choose one that has this, then it’s going to give you some savings as you don’t need to purchase separate tools.
Cyber crime statistics on DDoS attacks
Cyberattackers can disrupt your routine by overwhelming your server or network with floods of traffic. This is called a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Check out these two stats:
- In 2017, the average DDoS attack duration was 318.10 minutes. The longest attack lasted for six days!
- DDoS attacks over 10 Gbps increased by 100% in 2018. In that same year, there were over 400,000 DDoS attacks per month worldwide.
While these figures show the severity and frequency of DDoS attacks these days, you can avoid being a target by using a VPN. A VPN will mask your IP address, making it hard for attackers to target your device.
Some VPNs, like Private Internet Access, have a built-in NAT firewall, a welcome feature against DDoS attacks.
Cyber crime statistics on phishing
Phishing refers to fraudulent attempts to get sensitive data, like passwords and credit card information. This happens when the cyberattacker disguises as a trustworthy entity and deceives a victim into opening an email, message, or website.
Here are two stats showing the wide extent of phishing:
- In the first half of 2018, 6.4 billion fake emails were sent daily.
- According to Microsoft, there was a 250% increase in phishing emails from January to December 2018.
There are many reasons why users are lured into opening phishing emails or going to dubious sites. At a certain degree, VPNs can minimize such things from happening because the private connection won’t let attackers track email addresses and send out phishing emails. Some VPNs even have a feature that blacklists URLs of suspicious websites.
Don’t be a target of cybercrime
You might be thinking whether it’s a good idea to just quit the Internet, but such a move is waaaaaaaay too drastic. If anything, these 16 cyber crime statistics are more than enough reasons for you to try and get a VPN.
You can’t control cybercriminals from committing cybercrimes, but you have the means to avoid being a victim. Secure your online activities today with one of these top VPN providers.