By Chris King • 05 October 2021 • 10:36
In today’s high-tech, computerised, digital age, and especially since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, our lives have basically been transformed. We are now living in this new digital environment, where most of our daily actions suddenly involve going online, whether on our PC, tablets, or mobile phones.
This suddenly exposes you to the new breed of criminals – cybercriminals – who don’t even have to leave the comfort of their own homes to steal your bank savings, make purchases with your credit cards, even stealing your identity, so we need to know that there are ways to help protect ourselves online.
As a result, cybersecurity has become a huge concern for everybody, and while it is a real threat, if you are careful, and alert, then you stand every chance of not becoming the next victim of these supersmart computer nerds. To learn more about ways to help protect your identity visit “https://surfshark.com/learn/what-is-vpn”
As time goes by, these criminals are inventing more and more elaborate schemes to fool us with, and steal our data. Common online scams can be in the form of an email supposedly from your bank, or from the tax offices, or social security.
Of course, as soon as you think the email is from such important entities, and they are asking you to click some link to ‘recover’ your account, before you ‘get blocked’, or to ‘help them update their records’, our brains automatically tell us to comply.
A common scam used is called ‘phishing’. This is very simple for the criminal to do, but also very simple for you to combat. Phishers will impersonate a reputable company, or an official body, and send you an email with the aim of gaining your trust. Normally they try to reassure you that if you click a link, and give them the personal info they ask for, that it will magically solve your ‘problem’ that they are supposedly trying to help you solve.
Before doing anything, simply check the sender’s email address, because what the criminals do is copy an existing email address of the entity they are pretending to be.
Then they make a new fake address, almost identical, but they cleverly omit, or add, just one digit, so that it looks like the email is really from the official entity. If you are alert then you can spot what they have done, and send their email straight to the bin.
Even the links these criminals ask you to click will have one fake digit, it’s just a matter of taking your time to analyse the email before doing something that might cost you dearly.
When you unfortunately decide to click the link they have sent you, be prepared for all sorts of problems. The link will most definitely connect you to a fraudulent website that they have taken great care to build, usually a clone of the entity’s actual website, complete with the real branding etc.
All the boxes in this fake website are designed to make you enter as much personal information as possible, which they can then use to steal your identity. Once again, to avoid this happening, you only have to look at the address (URL) where this website is hosted, to verify whether it is a fraudulent page or not.
There are ways to help protect yourself from cybercriminals. The National Institute of Cybersecurity (Incibe) is based at Avenida Jose Aguado No41, and maintains an office in Plaza Manuel Gómez Moreno in Madrid. This company is always on hand to assist the general public or companies in all aspects of cybercrime and cybersecurity, simply by calling the number 017.
Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check The Euro Weekly News for all your up-to-date local and international news stories.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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