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Old­Fashioned Crime Goes Cyber in 2016

Advances in technology have led traditional criminal activity to evolve, and enter the digital world. Are you prepared?

Ransom demands, extortion, and gang activity have been baked into the global crime landscape for generations. Cybercrime experts warn that in 2016, these classic criminal behaviors are going digital, and will become much more difficult to stop. With predictions anticipating a 3 to 1 ratio of connected devices to people in 2020, many old-fashioned forms of illegal behavior are expanding into the Internet’s wild, unchecked frontier at alarming rates.


Cyber extortion, which entails publically revealing private or embarrassing hacked information, is reaching an all-time high in 2016. Cybercriminals are profiting off targets by threatening to release private pictures, personal information, or embarrassing secrets if demands aren’t met. A high-profile example was the recent hack of Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates adulterous affairs between its users. In this case, criminals threatened to reveal names attached to Ashley Madison accounts unless users paid the hackers steep prices.

Holding Users Hostage

The proliferation of “ransomware” has transferred this old-fashioned criminal behavior into the digital sphere. 2016 has seen a marked spike in cybercriminals’ use of ransomware, which is the term used for programs designed to hold victims’ digital information hostage until a ransom has been paid.

Advanced ransomware is even capable of penetrating smart devices, like Internet connected cars, medical devices, and household appliances. Cybercriminals have the ability to hijack virtually any connected device, and request inordinate ransom prices from victims.

In the first three months of 2016, over $200 million in ransom money was paid to criminals holding data hostage. This amount is eight times as much as the total ransomware demands paid in all of 2015!

Read More: Cybersecurity Threats You Should Watch for in 2016

The Globalization of Cybercrime

Cybercrime networks are expanding, and becoming more advanced, with gangs of online criminals using cutting-edge tools to break into private connected devices, selling access to the highest bidder. Cybercriminals in developing countries, like Nigeria, are also becoming more sophisticated with their online attacks. Military conflicts throughout the world can cause an increase in cyber assaults, as extensive damage can be inflicted by hacking groups who don’t have any physical military force.

PSafe Security

It’s clear to see that it’s a dangerous world we’re living in when it comes to data security. Don’t put the data, and personal information on your Android phone at risk. If you’re concerned about your phone’s security, give it the added protection it needs with PSafe TOTAL. PSafe TOTAL’s antivirus software will help secure all of the private data on your Android phone, and ensure your connected devices are safe and sound.