Modified content, false texts and unknown links, or how to recognize that we are targeted by cybercriminals

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The publishing partner is the Kościuszko Institute, the organizer of the CYBERSEC FORUM / EXPO event

Currently, shopping online, dealing with various types of official business online, medical consultation online or paying bills using an online account have become commonplace. Suffice it to say that many professions would cease to exist without the Internet. On the one hand there are many opportunities, on the other hand a number of threats that you should be aware of and skillfully defend against. The most important of these is cybercrime.

Are you sure? You can even mention the so-called cookies, i.e. small files in which, among other things, data about our logs, pages viewed or information about content personalization are stored. They are not dangerous, on the contrary – they facilitate the use of the websites that we choose most often.

However, this is the case until an unauthorized person gains access to it. And then it will arrive in our account in the online store, profile on the social network we use or online banking.

Obviously, having access to money in a bank account is a dramatic example. Advertising agencies are also interested in our data and our behavior in order to present us with the most personalized advertising possible. Personal data is an invaluable currency today.

The interception of data about our activity on the Internet, which is collected in the background and invisibly at first glance, is just one of the many threats that “await” us when we use the Internet. However, there are more scams. Beware of fake pages claiming to be the real bank or store login pages. Before entering the login details, make sure you have not made a typo when entering the address and also check the security certificates. We have to be vigilant whenever we receive a suspicious email or message or receive a call from an unknown number.

Recently, reports appeared in the Polish media that cybercriminals were impersonating electricity suppliers, sending messages about an alleged underpayment that threatened to cut off electricity. The SMS or e-mail contained a link which at first glance led to the provider’s website. In fact, when you clicked on it, it would lead you to some fake website which will infect our device. The “seized” device allows you to collect and use data about the owner of the phone, but also to use the device itself for other frauds and crimes, making us in a way… accomplices!

A successful hacking attack is often accompanied by characteristic symptoms. Although it all depends on the specific type of crime, a certain signal will certainly slow down our computer, tablet or smartphone. These are situations where we do not act and where the processor is working intensely.

We should also think about strange error messages, chronic crashes, disappearance of files and folders or appearance of new unknown applications or programs. A successful cyberattack can also be seen in our device sending spam, sent to email boxes, internet forums or social media, and new emerging toolbars in browsers. In the case of mobile devices, on the other hand, the symptom will be, for example, increased data transmission, which does not correspond to our real activities, or the battery drains too quickly.

An effective way to check if we have been victims of a cyberattack is to use good quality antivirus programs. They will allow us to locate the malware that steals our data. If we have any doubts and we are not specialists, we can use the help of specialists.

Leaving the Internet is the only one hundred percent effective way to protect against cybercriminal attacks. Of course, few people can afford it. So what can we actually do? First, we must follow a few simple rules: regularly monitor emerging warnings about new threats, do not open links and attachments in emails that come to us from unknown senders, and do not give your data or passwords to persons whose identity is not verified.

It will always be a good idea to change your passwords frequently and not to remember them in browsers, to use password encryption systems and anti-virus programs, to keep your systems up to date and to avoid public Wi-Fi networks. It should also be remembered that cybercriminals rely largely on our credulity, our empathy or our lack of vigilance. Common sense remains the most effective safety measure.

Although cybercrime is a relatively new form of crime, it is growing rapidly and dynamically. And this means that the methods of combating it, which were effective some time ago, quickly become outdated, obsolete and no longer serve their purpose. For this reason, it is worth keeping abreast of emerging threats. Various conferences, where experts from all over the world meet, provide an opportunity for this. One of them, CYBERSEC FORUM / EXPO, will be held on May 17-18 at the ICC in Katowice.

The main topic of the event will be cybersecurity – both in general terms and in the context of the current situation in Ukraine. This is one of the biggest challenges faced by administrations in all countries, including Poland. The conference will bring together experts from all over the world, incl. Kersti Kaljulaid (President of Estonia in 2016-2021, one of the most digitized countries in the world), David van Weel (NATO Deputy Secretary General), Mykhailo Fedorov (Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization ) and Janusz Cieszyński (Plenipotentiary State and Government Secretary for Cyber ​​Security).

The CYBERSEC FORUM / EXPO conference program includes issues such as issues of international cooperation during the crisis, the role of cyberspace in modern warfare, the security of digital infrastructures or the use of technology by authoritarian regimes. Participants in the event will have the opportunity to take part in various presentations, round tables and workshops.

Cyber ​​warfare has been going on for a long time. Now “only” intensified, as the situation in Ukraine clearly showed. And nothing will change. Today, anyone with sufficient technical knowledge and skills can become a cybercriminal. Long gone are the days when only skilled criminals or hackers would deal with this practice. It is no coincidence that cybercrime is sometimes considered the most profitable activity in the criminal world.

The publishing partner is the Kościuszko Institute, the organizer of the CYBERSEC FORUM / EXPO event

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