Over recent years, cybercrime and hacking has become more common – we hear of new events almost every day. There are various reasons for this surge in attacks, but one is that hacking is much easier than ever.

The world’s biggest library

In the past, hacking computer systems required a high degree of expertise. Hackers would spend months and years testing computer systems and looking for ways to break through security. Few people had the time or resources to spend learning these skills, so there weren’t many hackers or attacks.

The Internet changed everything when it became the world’s biggest library. Need to change a sparkplug in your car? Check out the tutorials on Youtube. Want to learn a new language? There’s an app for that. Who is the President of Paraguay? Look it up on Wikipedia.

Learning to be a criminal

But there’s a lot of tutorials for illegal activities too, teaching people how to clone credit cards, steal passwords or even break into IT security systems. Hidden on the deep web these training materials are harder to find – but they are available for anyone who is interested.

Now anyone can learn the basics of hacking within a matter of hours.

Becoming an instant cybercriminal

There’s an even faster way to become a successful hacker though – pay someone else to do the hard work. For a (very large) fee, established hacker groups will sometimes rent out their botnets, allowing anyone to conduct a large-scale cyberattack for instance.

Far cheaper, and just as effective on a smaller scale, is to ‘buy’ malware from the deep web. Hackers will sell custom viruses or trojans to anyone with a Bitcoin account – and they may even infect a victim’s computers too. Some may even supply ongoing software updates to ensure the malware continues to work after the victim’s anti-virus software has detected it.

Committing a highly targeted, successful cybercrime can cost as little as $50 USD. And you probably don’t need any in-depth IT knowledge either.

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Protecting yourself against DIY hackers

People buying malware online are just as dangerous as organised criminals because they are able to steal sensitive information, blackmail you or cause costly damage to your computers and reputation.

Anti-malware is now more important than ever. Not only are cybersecurity incidents becoming more common, but anyone can now become a hacker.

And because malware is constantly being updated, you need to choose an antivirus security tool which can detect and block suspicious activity. This will help prevent you falling victim to frequently updated malware.

You can download a free trial of Panda Dome to protect yourself now.

A word of warning

Just one thing to bear in mind – learning about hacking and cybersecurity is perfectly legal. Even if you don’t intend to use it, buying malware could get you into trouble with the police however. And when dealing with criminals, there is always a very real risk that you may become a victim yourself.

If you really want to learn about cybersecurity, consider enrolling on an official course instead.