Cybercrime trends – avoid the phishing hook

08-06-17 12:44 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

In 2016, cybercrime became the second most reported kind of economic crime.  However, cybercrime is hardly a uniform offense. Cybercrime adapts to its technological, organisational, and geographical surroundings, so it is important to be vigilant and stay aware of the current risks in your geographic region. As a trusted bank and aware of the role we play in society, we work continuously to protect and inform our customers about current dangers online, for example through seminars for corporate customers or our new “Mit digitale selvforsvar” app in Denmark. 

Gone Phishing

Across the Nordics, phishing remains one of the most common forms of cybercrime. Fraudsters who engage in phishing disguise themselves as trustworthy representatives via email, telephone, or SMS in order to trick users into giving them sensitive information. Phishing exploits one of the most universal weaknesses in digital security: users. Phishing communications have become much more sophisticated in recent years, and sometimes even the most tech-savvy users can be fooled. 

Cybercrime trends do vary throughout the Nordics, however, with different countries experiencing different techniques and methods. Here is a quick breakdown of what’s happening across the Nordics:

Denmark

So far in 2017, the most common form of cybercrime reported has been malware. Malware (malicious software) can be used to disrupt technological operations, gather personal or private information, or display unwanted advertising. Malware is often delivered via email, either in the form of a suspicious attachment or fraudulent link which leads to a page where a file is automatically downloaded. 

Android devices in Denmark have been the target of a special type of malware called Mazar. The virus is spread through a link sent via SMS which, if clicked and installed, filters all of the user’s browsing information through a malicious proxy. This allows the attackers to collect sensitive information, including potentially financial data, as well as gain admin rights to the device, allowing them to read texts, make calls, and erase data. Mazar has been sent to over 100,000 Android devices in Denmark. This style of phishing over SMS is sometimes called “smishing.”  

Sweden

In Sweden, there is a new form of cybercrime on the rise. “Vishing” is a new method of phishing over the telephone. Fraudsters may use a spoofed phone number and pretend to represent a trusted company or service seeking personal or financial information. Victims of this attack are told that their account may have been breached and that they need to confirm their identify using personal information. 

One of the most common examples of vishing is the Microsoft scam. The caller claims to represent Microsoft support and offers to “help” by remotely accessing your computer where they access to your personal financial information, including credit card info and logins.

Norway

In Norway, investment scams are common. This is where the victim is fooled into investing money with high returns. But when time comes to withdraw the money, the company no longer exists. CEO fraud is also quite frequent. Cybercriminals impersonate a company’s top-level executives using hacked or fraudulent email accounts in order to fool company employees into making unauthorised payments or send confidential information. 

Finland

Phishing scams are the most common form of cybercrime in Finland. Many fraudsters use variations of the Microsoft scam to try to get access to a user’s personal information. They may call claiming that your computer requires a critical security update or that your banking credentials must be updated. 

Fighting against the tide

Whatever area you live or work in, it is best to stay up to date with the latest methods of cybercrime and fraud. Any suspicious communications from your bank, financial service provider, or other digital service should be heavily scrutinised. Always check twice before opening email attachments or clicking on links to ensure the sender is legitimate. Vigilance is key.  

/Josefin Bläckberg, Business Developer in Fraud Management at Nordea.

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