There have always been criminals ready to part us from our money. But the methods they use are always changing.
These days, what is really valuable is not cash but personal data – and phishing, smishing and tabnabbing are among the techniques favoured by Cyber criminals.
At Continuum we are looking at the latest from the world of cybercrime.
What is cybercrime?
Smartphones, computers and the internet are now fundamental to modern life. From online banking and shopping, to email and social media, digital communication is vital to everything we do – and also very attractive to the latest crop of criminals, who can operate from a screen anywhere in the world, in almost perfect safety.
These cyber criminals are set on getting hold of our personal details, and particularly things like our account logins and passwords. One they have them, they can take our money, take out loans in our names, and worse. Phishing, smishing and tabnapping are three of their latest ways to rob us.
Phishing and Smishing
When criminals go phishing, you and your personal details, such as usernames and passwords could end up on the hook.
Emails, letters or even phone calls can be phishing expeditions. These can appear to be authentic communications from legitimate organisations. A friendly voice who claims to be from your bank will ask you to confirm your details. An email, which appears to come from a trusted organisation can direct you to a hoax website where your login or personal details may be requested. Opening it may risk your computer or smartphone being infected by viruses.
Smishing is a new variant on phishing – using SMS or text messaging.
Any message from a company you don’t normally receive communications from, or someone you do not know – or a business who should know your name as a customer but does not use it in an email – should all be grounds for suspicion. Even if you are just suspicious, you should report it.
- If you have received a communication which you’re not sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service at [email protected]
- Use your spam filter: If you detect a phishing email, mark the message as spam and delete it. This ensures that the sender cannot reach your inbox in future.
- Know your source: Never respond to a message from an unknown source – don’t click any embedded links. Even “unsubscribe” links can be malicious. The email address in the ‘from’ field of an email is not a guarantee that it came from there.
The COVID-19 scam
The latest variation on phishing is the COVID-19 scam. These emails aim to convince people to hand over financial details in exchange for COVID-19 vaccinations, and are the work of organised crime groups. The emails use the NHS brand to try and trick people into parting with personal information such as their name, date of birth and financial details.
Tabnapping is a relatively new type of phishing and requires some real technical skills.
When a user clicks back onto the tab to find the fake log-in screen, they assume that they have been logged out and re-enter their user information and password to log back in – giving the fraudsters exactly what they need.
Whatever the financial questions you may have, you need someone you can trust to provide the answers. This is why at Continuum we work with our clients for the long term.