Are Women More Likely to be Victims of Cybercrime?

 Posted on November 23, 2015 in Criminal Defense

victims of cybercrime, Chicago Internet Crimes LawyerMost Americans rely on the web daily, and use it for work, play, and to stay connected with friends and family. These days, almost everyone in the U.S. has a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and modern technology is quickly spreading across the world. However, sometimes, the Internet can be a scary place.

While the World Wide Web provides many wonderful uses, there are some threats hidden in it’s dark corners. Cybercrime occurs every day, and unfortunately, the trend is continuing to rise. From theft to blackmail, to sharing obscene, illegal content, the Internet provides a forum for a variety of crimes to take place.

Did you know that women are especially prone to cybercrime? A study conducted in 2014 shows that women should take extra steps to protect themselves from the possibility of Internet crimes.

Kapersky Lab, a global Internet security company, recently surveyed more than 10,000 people aged 16 or older, and asked questions about Internet security and online threats received.

The data found that 73 percent of the women surveyed had faced malware threats, while only 65 percent of the men surveyed reported the same. Malware is any software designed to be malicious. Viruses, spyware, adware, and worms are a few of the most common types of malware.

Different types of malware have varying purposes. Some are used to spy and collect data on computer users. Others are designed to steal personal information. Certain types of malware are designed to infect a user’s computer and then extort the user for money, promising to remove the infection if the user pays a fee. Malware is an ever changing and growing world. When one threat is resolved, many more pop up in it’s place. As the globe becomes more connected, it is very likely malware will become more common.

In addition to malware, other web platforms like Twitter, Facebook, online chat rooms, and even email can be used to commit cybercrimes. Criminals may post and circulate sexual or obscene material, blackmail, or stalk users. Women are frequently the target of sexual crimes or stalking online. Cyber criminals are able to track women’s whereabouts online, leading to safety risks in the real world.

The survey also shows that women are more likely to be targeted financially via the Internet. Twenty-two percent of the women surveyed reported a financial loss due to cybercrime, compared to 19 percent of the men surveyed. Thirty-four percent of women also reported they were unaware that cybercrime could happen via smartphone, while only 23 percent of men reported the same. Industry experts say these numbers are alarming, and show that the targeting of women is on the rise.

Why are women more likely to be victims of cybercrime? While there is no simple answer; however, researchers have pointed out a few possibilities. One is that women are more trusting with their devices.

Thirty-six percent of the women surveyed allowed friends and family members to use their devices without precautions, while only 28 percent of men did the same. Online crimes are often committed by someone the victim knows. “Once an ex-boyfriend or husband knows your password, they can post explicit pictures of you under a pseudonym,” writes one industry leader. “Tools such as spyware and GPS are used to track their target’s every move.”

What can Internet users, especially women, do to protect themselves against cyber crime? Experts urge users to install anti-virus software that protects against malware, and users are encouraged to choose effective passwords and change them often. People often forget that their smartphone can just as easily be targeted for cybercrime, so users are encouraged to purchase and install anti-virus software on the cellphones as well.

Additionally, experts advise users to be cautious when using WiFi hotspots that are open to the public, as that is an easy way for hackers to obtain personal information, or worse. Ultimately, users are encouraged to continue using their devices, just with caution. Proper anti-virus software and a simple awareness of the possibility of cybercrime can help users stay safe.

Being charged with a cybercrime is a very serious matter, with real consequences. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, we are qualified to represent clients facing web related charges. Call 312-629-0669 to speak with a Chicago Internet crimes attorney today.


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