The proliferation of electronic devices in every aspect of daily life and the range of electronic activities make every user a potential victim of fraud.
The term “phishing” is essentially the “fishing” of users, as the goal of the “hackers” is to “fish” from the victims’ personal data and information.
The “National Cyber Security Team” that participates every year in the “European Cybersecurity Challenge (ECSC)” informs users to be extra careful.
According to a recent survey by the “Anti-Phishing Working Group”, a total of 1,270,883 “phishing” attacks were observed in the third quarter of 2022, of which 23.2% represented financial sector attacks. In fact, email attacks increased by 1,000% in the third quarter of 2022. In recent years, “phishers” have tended to focus on banking, economic and financial services, e-commerce customers, and social network and e-mail credentials. mail.
The most common methods of “phishing” are three:
- The now classic “email phishing”,
- “smising” through “SMS” messages on mobile phones
- and “vising” via audio messages on the answering machine.
In each of the above cases, malicious users —pretending to be banking institutions, online stores, or even public services— ask recipients to confirm sensitive personal data.
“Holiday periods, such as Easter, when shopping traffic through online stores is increased, are ideal opportunities for phishing attacks to escalate. “Hackers” take advantage on the one hand of the increased “online” purchasing demand, but also of the promotional actions of businesses, in order to mislead the public and extract personal information or even sums of money”.
notes Stella Tsitsoula, communications manager of the “National Cyber Security Group”.
As mentioned, users can follow a few simple tips to spot scams and stay digitally safe:
- Confirmation of source: We never “click” on links or attachments. Without “clicking”, we can simply see the link where an unsolicited message refers and confirm its origin. If the suspicious message appears to be from someone you know, contact them via another means, such as a text message or phone call, to confirm.
- Upgraded security software (antivirus): Using the latest versions of security software ensures protection against modern threat trends.
- Strong unique code: Complex and unique passwords and “two-factor authentication” make third-party access to personal data more difficult.
- Beware of common scams: Contests by well-known companies and the donation of large sums of money are common methods of deceiving the public.
- Secure network: Financial transactions and online purchases must be made by connecting only to secure networks and “VPNs” and only through the official pages of banking institutions.
Using and transacting online shouldn’t be feared; with the right security measures in place, users can safeguard their personal information and browse safely. The treatment should be immediate.
However, if you suspect you may have been the victim of a “phishing” attack, there are a few things you should do immediately:
- Immediately change the passwords on the affected accounts and anywhere else you use the same password.
- Also, confirm that you have enabled “multi-factor authentication” for each of your accounts.
- If you have shared information about your credit cards or bank accounts, you should contact your bank immediately.
Whether users become aware of the fraud directly, by losing some amount of money, or indirectly by indications on their devices, they need to act as soon as possible. In case of fraud, the “E-Crime Prosecution Service” as well as the banking provider must be informed.
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