Be Secure Online Blog

COVID19 is good for Internet Crime

covid19, internet crime, online safety
London Met Police report a huge surge in online crime in 2020 since COVID19.

Internet crime is on the rise with COVID19 in 2021, most of us think they will never be a victim to hackers. In this article, we will walk you through it: 

No.1 I don't browse inappropriately, so I’m fine.

Internet crime is commonplace, it catches everyone out, it's a numbers games, it is not personal and you don't need to be doing much to be caught out. There are so many ways and means to get at you, from malware delivery, data-theft, email scams, phishing, etc etc.

Email attacks: Using a strategy called phishing, hackers often send emails in which they pretend to be a legitimate organization, like a bank or payment service. They use social engineering to convince you that their emails are genuine, and urge you to click a link in the message. The link can then trigger a malware download.

Wi-Fi spy: If you use public Wi-Fi, you’re putting yourself at risk. Hackers can create fake hotspots, masquerading as legitimate Wi-Fi providers (a nearby cafe, for example). Once you’ve logged on, they’ll be able to view all of your traffic and steal any personal information you disclose. Use a VPN to encrypt your traffic when using public Wi-Fi.

Malvertising: Criminals sometimes create online adverts to lure victims; this is called malvertising. It looks like a normal banner adds, but clicking on it could take you to a new page where malware can be quietly installed on your device. Recently these adverts have been smuggled onto reputable websites, including Spotify, The New York Times and British Airways, they denied it initially, then admitted it.

As long as you're connected to the internet, you could be at risk. That's why it's always best to take precautions.

2: I'm safe because I only use my smartphone.

Any device that has an operating system can be hacked. Be it your phone, laptop, router, or even your smart home system. Surprisingly, dozens of malicious apps reside in the official app stores. You might think that you’re downloading a new game to your smartphone or installing a harmless photo editor, but you could be infecting your device with malware.

Hackers often use the success of famous apps, creating convincing copycats. These fake apps steal your personal information, credit card details, and passwords.

cyber crime, internet crime on the rise in COVID19
People often report that they get a message from online criminals, Thank you for your business. The smiling face of crime

3: I use antivirus software, so I don’t need to worry.

Antivirus software indeed protects your computer and smartphone from viruses. However, it’s not enough. They'll try to find new security flaws and antivirus can fail to see evolving threats. And Antivirus won't protect you from subtler manipulations; many hackers, instead of using viruses, will try to trick you into volunteering private information and passwords.

Let’s say you're searching for a new pair of sneakers. You find a nice deal online with a recognisable retailer and continue to the payment page. A hacker could have built a fake website that looks exactly like the original, just to steal your sensitive data. These scams are common. You have to be cautious when shopping online, using banking services, and making payments. If you’re not being careful, antivirus protection will only go so far.


4: It’s only a work laptop; I don’t keep anything important on there.

75% of corporate data breaches are due to carelessness.  It only takes one person to expose a company’s network.
Malware. when a hacker accesses your work email, they’ll send infected links to colleagues. They’ll spread malware and hack other devices where more sensitive data will be found.

Grand Theft Autofill. Your laptop will have several browser passwords saved, ready to use and autofill. Saved passwords make life easier — for hackers. The criminal will use your device as a backdoor into databases elsewhere.

Gone Phishing. Maybe your email is still secure, even after the hack. Many companies now use internal messaging services, and employees always stay logged in on these apps. The criminal will get colleagues for password information or privileges, operating under your name.

If the company stores have millions of customers info. Credit card details, names, purchase histories, emails, home addresses, phone numbers — this information is really valuable. This might even be deadly

The average cost of a data breach for a company is nearly $4 million, depending on the size, of course, that number could be even higher. As many people work from home now in  2021, it’s important to use a VPN and protect your digital identity, for your own sake and that of your employer.

Articles of Interest

Ransomware to pay or not to pay

Police warn business to watch for email invoice scams

5: I know my computer and I'd see if it had a virus.

Some viruses can reside on a computer for months before a user unwittingly activates them, while others start doing their work in the background immediately. Modern viruses are hard to notice: your system might be running smoothly and everything could seem fine…until it’s too late. If you have downloaded a virus by accident, it might take only a couple minutes to scrape your details. Imagine what it can do if left to its own devices for days, or even months.

6: I have nothing to hide. Why should I protect myself?

Come on! You wouldn’t hand your online banking and social media passwords to a stranger. For example, almost everyone would be impacted negatively by a ransomware attack. Hackers can infect you with a special piece of malware which allows them to encrypt your hard drive, essentially locking you out of your files and your system. Unless you pay the ransom money, you won’t be able to access your computer anymore. And even if you pay, you can never be sure that perpetrators will release your files from captivity.

2017, saw ransomware called WannaCry infected 200,000 plus computers across 150 countries and demanded users to make payments in Bitcoin. WannaCry is still active.

Freedome VPN is everything you need to protect your phone!

The #1 best VPN for home users says The Financial Times


7: A strong password is all you need.

A strong password is important, but coming up with a secure one on your own are unlikely. Hackers use credential stuffing software to cycle through the dictionary, along with common numerical sequences, until one matches your password. It could take milliseconds to crack simple combinations like “iloveyou” or “123456”, and hours or even days to crack something more complex. However, strong passwords are not enough.

We recommend using two-factor authentication (2FA) as an extra layer of security. After typing your password, you would also have to authenticate yourself via a separate app, SMS, or token. Even if criminals have stolen your password, they won’t be able to bypass the 2FA.

Get ahead of the hackers
With a VPN enabled, your device can be protected from Wi-Fi spying and man-in-the-middle attacks. Combined with some common-sense and a security-first approach, this technology goes a long way to lower the risks that everyone now faces online.
VPN enhances privacy and security, to combat hackers preemptively. It moves traffic through an encrypted tunnel and meaning your data is for your eyes only.

Articles of Interest 

Five great reasons to get VPN. A guide to vpn

Does China own your VPN too!


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