What is Cybercrime Against Property?
Most people perceive property as something they hold as a physical asset. However, in the modern times, a property can also be something that we hold virtually. In this digital world, many users hold cryptocurrency, NFT, banking accounts, and digital cards, which now can be counted as property. Thus, any sort of tactics and crime that are conducted on such assets is termed as ‘cybercrime against property.’ To know the types of attacks, what the targets are, and how to safeguard from such crimes, let’s dive in to read more.
After having understood what cybercrime is against property, let’s now delve into understanding how it affects our physical and virtual assets.
Cybercrime Against Property- Physical Damage
This kind of damage falls under cyber vandalism, which is an act of destroying the devices containing the data. Devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, mobile devices, hard disks, data-storing server centres, pen drives, etc., are included in this category. Additionally, when a device or accessory important to containing the data is stolen, then it is a theft or robbery to be reported in the cybercrime against property category.
Cybercrime Against Property- Virtual Damage
This includes everything that is present on the internet and gets distorted due to cyber criminal activities. All the data, images, files, documents, and other media are at greater risk due to various methodologies employed by cybercriminals. We’ll be talking about that shortly.
What Are Different Techniques Employed by Criminals to Conduct Cybercrime Against Property?
Intellectual Property Crimes
This includes most of the crimes, namely, software piracy, copyright infringement, trademark counterfeiting, patent infringement, and service mark violation. All of them are somehow responsible for stealing and faking the branded content, which is registered as a ‘virtual property’.
Hacking, Phreaking, Phishing
Any attempts to conduct attacks, such as finding vulnerabilities in the infrastructure of your system, are considered to be hacking. Phishing includes all the emails that are sent to you under a fake identity, manipulating into downloading malicious files, leading to damage of the data and access to the device through malware.
Transmitting Worms, Virus, and Malware
Phishing attempts normally involve hosting fake websites and sending fake emails that prompt a user into downloading malicious software intending to damage the device. This damage affects the data, identity, and device of the user. Worms and viruses often cause multiple processes in the computer, leading to crashing or unresponsiveness for a long time.
Distorting Operations Through Denial of Service Attack
In a DOS (Denial of Service) attack, approximately over a thousand requests are sent every second to the device, making it unavailable for any other important transaction that needs to be carried out. Such attacks are carried out after detecting a vulnerable system in the device and exploiting it for DOS, thus making it a significant category of cybercrime against property.
Deleting the Data, Encrypting, and Stealing It Upon Unauthorized Access
Whenever a system detects unauthorized access, it is important to take necessary incident response steps immediately. Else, cybercriminals can manage to steal, delete, and encrypt the data. To restore the data, the criminals do ask for ransom, leading to brand reputation and financial loss.
When your virtual property has an evil replica, such as by registering a look-like domain having the same name as your brand, then it becomes a typosquatting attack. In typosquatting, the criminals attempt to defame your virtual property and conquer their malicious agenda, such as malware delivery and portraying wrong information to dedicated customers.
Brand Harming by Portraying Obscene Content
Hackers also attempt to hijack the website and manipulate the content shown. This can lead to heavy brand harm and loss of customer’s trust. Moreover, hosting obscene content on legitimate websites is also a part of cybercrime against property and must be taken seriously.
Legal Proceedings Following Cybercrime Against Property in India
Once you realize that cybercriminals have targeted your assets, be they physical or virtual, it is recommended that you follow legal proceedings. In India, one can report a legal complaint under the IT Act, Special Laws, and IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections. All the threats mentioned above fall and can be reported under the guidance of cyber law experts.
Protection From Cybercrime Against Property
Following are a few steps to ensure that you’re protected from any harm occurring due to cybercrime against property:
- Keep checking your accounts and access. Always cross-check the number of logins, last login time, and login location to detect any compromise.
- Adhering to strong password policies can help prevent brute forcing and password cracking attempts. Keep strong passwords across all the systems in your network and change them regularly. Use a well-known password-keeping tool for the same.
- People can casually leave their laptops unattended, even if they are working from the office or home. This can lead to unknown compromise from their trusted people with malicious intent. Thus, keep your workspace protected and always lock the computers and other devices when you’re away from it.
- In case of cyber vandalism, ensure that the devices are safe. Protect them by robust encasing and deploying security systems in the rooms or areas where important infrastructure is present.
- To protect from virtual damage, organizations and individuals can protect their data by deploying strong security solutions to avoid malware spread from phishing and account takeovers.
- Lastly, if identified as a victim, always report to authorities about the hack. This can help organizations to react immediately and minimize the impact. Also, proceed to take legal action by consulting a cyber law expert.
Cybercrime against property is one of the most commonly occurring incidents with organizations and individuals. However, most of them go unreported due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the concepts. Now, with this article, we hope there is an appropriate roadmap for the users to remain vigilant and take necessary actions. Start by figuring out your assets, and ensure that appropriate security measures are taken to prevent cybercrime.
Author Bio: This article has been written by Rishika Desai, B.Tech Computer Engineering graduate with 9.57 CGPA from Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (VIIT), Pune. Currently works as Cyber Threat Researcher at CloudSEK. She is a good dancer, poet and a writer. Animal love engulfs her heart and content writing comprises her present. You can follow Rishika on Twitter at @ich_rish99.