Cybercrime is any violation of federal, state, or local statute, or malicious or suspicious activity, in which a computer, network or device is an integral component of the violation.

Examples can include: a malicious cyber-criminal breaking into a computer to steal information (computer intrusion) or to change a website (website defacement); malware being placed on a computer without the owner’s permission; and that malware using that computer’s resources to send spam.

Cybercrime actors can generally be classified into several categories: lone hackers, script kiddies, insiders, hacktivists, terrorists, organized cyber-criminal groups and nation states. The motivations for committing cybercrime will vary and can include a desire for recognition or promotion of an ideology; theft of money or information for industrial espionage; or the creation of widespread disruption. Cybercrime is big business. According to SecureWorks' 3rd annual Underground Hacker Markets annual report, the price for Visa and MasterCard credentials increased from $4 in 2014 to $7 today. One underground market reportedly has more than 14 million stolen U.S. credit cards for sale.

Cybercrime—whether from malware on a single computer or the recent 2016 high-profile hacks against Wendy’s, LinkedIn, Yahoo! and others— impacts everyone. Below are some key practices you can use to help minimize your risk of being a victim:

  • Protect Your Personal Information. Be aware of financial and sensitive information you give out. Cybercriminals will look at your social networking webpage to find information about you – remember, many of the answers to website and bank security questions can be found online. Use privacy settings to limit who can see the details of your social network pages, and be smart about what you decide to share online.
  • Review Your Financial Statements Regularly.
    Cybercriminals find loopholes and your accounts may get hacked through no fault of your own, so review your financial statements regularly. Contact Starion Bank at 1-888-258- 6050 immediately if you see any suspicious looking activity.
  • Use Strong Passwords.
    Never use simple or easy-to-guess passwords like “123456” or “p@$$word” or “football.” Cybercriminals use automated programs that will try every word in the dictionary in a few minutes. When creating a password, use at least 10 characters, with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Be Cautious About Clicking on Links and Opening Attachments.
    Be cautious about all communications you receive including those purported to be from friends and family, and be careful when clicking on links in those messages. When in doubt, delete it.
  • Configure Your Computer Securely.
    Make sure your computer, smartphones, and tablets are safe. Use privacy and security settings in your software, email system and web browsers. New strains of malicious software are appearing all the time, so it is imperative to regularly update your anti-malware software.
  • Keep Your Software and Operating Systems Updated.
    Be sure to install all software updates as soon as they are offered; using the “auto update” setting is the best way to ensure timely updates. Similarly, make sure you keep your operating system and any third-party plug-ins that you use updated.

What to do if you are a victim

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, notify Starion Bank, and any other entities with which you have accounts. Contact all three major credit bureaus (e.g. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to request a credit report, and have a fraud alert and a credit freeze placed on your account.

Internet-related crime, like any other crime, should be reported to appropriate authorities at the local, state, or federal levels, depending on the scope of the crime.

Read more about how to protect yourself and prevent cybercrime attacks.

Starion Bank is a full-service financial institution with branches in North Dakota and Wisconsin.