CRA raises awareness against online fraud, hacking
12 Sep 2021 – 8:13
File photo used for representation only.
Authorities have urged the public to exercise caution in cyber space in light of the ever-growing threats of cyberattacks, scam calls, and text messages asking for personal and banking information. The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), in a tweet, has urged citizens and residents of Qatar to be vigilant and careful with their online activities.
“There are several fraud and hacking techniques. Beware and stay safe,” the CRA tweeted.
The Authority stressed that people should not respond to calls and messages from unknown numbers. If they receive calls from these numbers, they should immediately block them if they cannot ascertain their origin.
Also, people must verify to whom they are talking to before sharing personal or bank information. While using social media apps, consumers should apply a two-step verification feature where applicable and not share verification codes with anyone.
Several people have fallen victims to fraudulent calls. They have shared sensitive bank information, which has led authorities to increase awareness campaigns to enlighten the public on ensuring safe online activities. Six in 10 people admit to using the same password across multiple online accounts, from email to online banking, and only a third bother to change passwords more than once a year.
Institutions have also been targeted as Doha-based Aljazeera disclosed in June that it was subjected to continual hacking attempts.
Cyberattacks have been on a steady rise in the Middle East and GCC. A recent IBM report ‘Cost of a Data Breach Hits Record High During Pandemic’, said the Middle East has the second most expensive data breaches at $6.93m per incident. The region is only topped by the US at $9.05m, Canada completes the top three at $5.4m.
The report, which examined real-world data breaches experienced by 500 organisations worldwide between May 2020 and March 2021, says the cost of cybersecurity incidents in the Middle East rose 6 percent over the past year.
The report also sheds light on a growing problem in which consumer data (including credentials) are compromised in data breaches, which can be used to propagate further attacks. With 82% of individuals surveyed admitting they reuse passwords across accounts, compromised credentials represent a leading cause and effect of data breaches, creating a compounding risk for businesses.
According to its 2020 Annual Cybersecurity report ‘A Constant State of Flux’, Trend Micro solutions detected and blocked over 4.7 million email threats, prevented 4.7 million malicious URL victim attacks and nearly 20,000 (19,843) URL hosts. It also identified and stopped over 740,000 malware attacks, while more than 200 online-related banking malware threats were blocked.
According to the report, home networks in Qatar were a major draw for cybercriminals looking to pivot to corporate systems, devices, and networks.