Ah, the double-edged sword of technological advancements. I’m a tech guy, so I love seeing the world becoming a more tech-friendly place as time passes. What I don’t love is that a dark underbelly has emerged where cybercriminals are constantly on the prowl looking for new ways to scam unsuspecting people and take their cherished personal information. They continue doing this by using Crimeware-as-a-Service. Let’s discuss exactly what this means and how to protect yourself from becoming the next victim.

What is Crimeware-as-a-Service?

You wouldn’t think that committing these cybercrimes was that easy, yet it’s becoming easier and easier, thanks to Crimeware-as-a-Service. It’s the practice of providing resources for cybercriminals on the dark web. These resources typically entail some type of dangerous software or tools that a cybercriminal can inflict on someone else’s device using phishing attacks, spyware or some other method. There are phishing attack kits that cybercriminals can purchase for just $40. (CyberGuy.com)

Why is Crimeware-as-a-Service so popular?

The reason why this is becoming so popular is that it is something that doesn’t even require cybercriminals to be skilled technicians anymore. Instead, they can take the easy route by just paying a fee on the dark web or even social media platforms, and then the software they purchase will do all the dirty work for them. There are phishing attack kits that cybercriminals can purchase for just $40, or they can get a little more sophisticated and purchase some information-stealing malware for more.

How the COVID-19 pandemic fueled the rise of Crimeware-as-a-Service

Committing cybercrimes this way, unfortunately, got accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic with COVID-themed phasing campaigns, vaccine-related scams and remote access Trojans. Once the pandemic began in 2020, millions of people, including myself, were forced to transition to working or doing their schooling from home. Plus, online shopping became even more popular than it already was, and many people took to social media out of boredom. That caused a major surge in the amount of information that people share online, making it a goldmine for cybercriminals and causing Crimeware-as-a-Service to skyrocket ever since.

Who are these criminals targeting?

I hate to say this, but no one is truly safe from these cybercriminals who use Crimeware-as-a-Service. The average household likely does not have high-profile online security measures for their devices, as a big corporation might, because many people don’t have the time or budget to invest in such measures. Most people might not even realize that they are at risk, and cybercriminals know that, so they try to target as many average civilians as they can through phishing attacks, spyware and other means.

How can I protect myself from crimeware?

Everyone needs to understand that any person is at risk for a cyberattack, especially when they don’t have the proper measures in place. There are a few simple and pretty affordable steps that you can take to protect your devices at home from these cyberattacks.

Have good antivirus software

Keeping hackers out of your devices can be prevented if you have good antivirus software installed. Having antivirus software on your devices will deter you from clicking on any potentially malicious links that may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information.

See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

Use a VPN

Consider using a VPN to protect against those who can track you and identify your potential location on websites that you visit. Many sites can read your IP address and, depending on their privacy settings, may display the city from which you are corresponding. A VPN will disguise your IP address to show an alternative location.

For the best VPN software, see my expert review of the best VPNs for browsing the web privately on your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

Make unique passwords for your accounts

Create strong passwords for your accounts and devices, and avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts. Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords. It will help you to create unique and difficult-to-crack passwords that a hacker could never guess.

Check out my best expert-reviewed password managers of 2023.

Kurt’s key takeaways

With Crimeware-as-a-Service on the rise now more than ever, we must know how to protect ourselves. That includes having antivirus software to detect viruses, using a VPN to protect your IP address at all times, and using a password manager to help you create unique and hard-to-guess passwords for all of your online accounts. Just because cybercriminals are hard at work, that doesn’t mean you can’t outsmart them.

Are you finding it challenging to keep up with all of the ways cybercriminals are trying to breach your security? How are you protecting yourself against cyberattacks and the increasing prevalence of Crimeware-as-a-Service? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved. Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & NY Business beginning mornings on “NY & Friends.” Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.

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