Cybercrime: What to Do to Prevent It

What does the future of information hold for us, at a time when we have so many digital businesses at our fingertips? In a conference at ITAM, Professor Fernando Gamallo explained the meaning of cybersecurity and the importance of protecting our virtual information to correctly prevent cybercrime, especially in the case of young people.
Gamallo began his presentation speaking about the enormous amount of information that has been produced in the past 15 years. He described the event as an “information revolution.” This is manifested digitally in the global connection.


The Importance of Information in Recent Generations

To understand the influence that access to information and digital media has on our lives, Gamallo explained the consumption preferences and their evolution over the past 100 years. Technology has gained an increasing presence in people’s daily lives. This process began with those born in the early 20th century, known as the “silent generation,” and culminating with the most recent one, Generation Z. It is Generation Z whose skill in the use of technology allows it to hold the world in its hands. Also, the digital connection between people and things is growing. The service consumption rates in 2018 show that electronic applications and devices facilitate entertainment, transportation, consumption and interaction.

The Dangerous Side of New Technologies

Technology boom has brought about the emergence of so-called cybercrime. Around the world, individuals and companies have been targets of attacks which seek to steal personal data from users. The stolen information includes passwords, credit card data, passport scans, email accounts, phone numbers, clinical records, purchasing or credit histories, GPS localizations and game accounts. Our devices have registered access data to personal information, and it is the financial incentive for the information to be priced in the Dark Web Market Price Index which leads to this boom in the virtual economy being subject to virtual attacks. In Mexico alone, the population receives 1.5 million cyberattacks a day (Forbes) and 79% of Mexican companies have suffered a cyberattack (El Financiero).

Different Type of Cybercrime

Professor Gamallo then proceeded to reveal the different information theft tactics used today. They are: social engineering (psychological manipulation during human interaction to obtain information, to carry out fraud or to obtain illegitimate access to the victim’s equipment), phishing (use of emails or other technological tools to impersonate a trusted agency and steal information), vishing (social engineering through voice that recreates automated voices similar to those of banks), smishing (impersonation technique to obtain personal information through messaging systems) and fappening (phishing (impersonation used to obtain intimate photos of celebrities in 2014).
These methods use as a tool a Malware (Malicious Software), a program that is introduced into devices. The software blocks, corrupts or steals information using a zero-day attack. This program exploits the vulnerabilities of an operative system or application that are unknown to users.


Measures to Prevent Cybercrime

Finally, Dr. Gamallo presented various strategies that users of electronic devices can implement to provide the maximum protection possible for their information, and in this way, prevent cybercrime. These include backing up information, keeping the operating system up to date on devices, installing antivirus software, creating unique passwords, selecting creative security responses, avoiding the use of free Wi-Fi, taking care of information inside and outside social networks, checking account statements regularly, checking the financial status, blocking the cellphone, avoiding apps that require location, and avoiding the use of external USB flash drives.
Fernando Gamallo has a degree in communications and electronics from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN).



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