From 1843 Magazine:
The malevolence of cybercrime often seems all the worse for the impenetrable jargon used to describe attacks. Perhaps a “time bomb” blew up your computer, or malicious software turned your smartphone into a “zombie”? Even lower-tech crimes get strange labels: “shoulder-surfing” refers to when scammers nab your passwords by literally looking over your shoulder as you type (sometimes with binoculars). “Catfishing” is when you’re tricked into thinking you’re in an online relationship and unknowingly send cash to scammers using a fake profile (the supermodel who claims to have the hots for you may in fact be a 52-year-old man called Steve).
Confusing you is exactly what these cyber-attackers want. And they’re worryingly successful: in America the amount of money lost to cybercrime increased threefold from 2015 to 2019. And that was before the pandemic pushed more criminals to focus on internet crime – just as many of us started living our entire lives online. Online criminals are often dubbed “hackers”. The term itself is controversial: many geeks use it to describe anyone with an advanced understanding of computers, and prefer the term “malicious hacker” for someone who uses their skills for nefarious purposes. They point out that hackers can also use their knowledge for good, to fight the bad guys. If you want to know the difference between online outlaws and angels, start by learning the language they speak.