e-Crime is an umbrella term for a variety of criminal offences that may occur when a computer is used as the tool or source of a crime.
Some people spread malware (malicious software) with the intention of simply causing a nuisance to users by infiltrating their computer with viruses.
Others, however, may try to gain access to your PC for their own ends. For example, criminals may pose as a legitimate website then use a ‘phishing’ technique to steal your credit card details, or to obtain cash for goods you’ll never receive.
Theft, fraud, forgery and blackmail are all examples of crimes that can take place on the web, and due to its nature hackers may strike from thousands of miles away.
Taking some simple precautions will go a long way in protecting your PC:
- Make sure your firewall is always switched on – you can check this by opening the control panel. It switches on automatically with Windows Vista and later versions of Windows XP but not with Mac OS X.
- Obtain good quality anti-virus and anti-spyware software
- Block all spam emails to stop viruses infiltrating your system
- Beware of messages that encourage you to view humorous photographs, videos and games – they may be used to disguise malware
- Don’t use the same passwords for all your web accounts – if a hacker gets one it’ll help him/her work out the rest
- Don’t store your passwords in your hard drive - write them down and keep them in a safe place.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has been a victim of e-Crime please contact police headquarters.