Cyber crimes up around 50 percent so far this year

Smartphone. Photo is illustrative.
Smartphone. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

Cyber crimes such as phishing scams have risen in frequency through the first half of this year, while the number of victims has increased by around 50 percent, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Wednesday.

Cellphone operators say they have been dealing with millions of such attempted attacks.

Experts from the national Information Systems Authority (RIA) have identified around a dozen new phishing pages each day through the summer,

The scam pages attempt to defraud people of bank details, PIN codes and other sensiitive data, both online and over the phone.

In most cases, their sender purports to be from a courier firm, claiming that the customer's package has arrived at a wrong address or is awaiting customs duty payment.

The losses from these scams have been estimated in the thousands of euros so far, AK reported.

Tõnu Tammer, a cyber incident manager at RIA, told AK that: "Whereas at the beginning of this year we had around 40 significant incidents per week, as of the beginning of June the figure was already at almost 75 incidents per week, as an average. Through June this number dropped somewhat, but we are still seeing attacks of this kind going on every day."

Telecoms firms such as Elisa and Tele2 say they are constantly developing new solutions to combat cyber threats, including pre-installed security software in some cases.

Elisa's customers saw over 600,000 registered attacks in June alone, AK reported; one scam even involves a cyber criminal posing as a representative of the firm.

Mai Kraft, Elisa's information security manager, said: "Calls get made to customers claiming to be on behalf of Elisa, that the user needs to update some data," adding that Elisa customers can also get calls from scammers posing as representatives of its competitor firms.

Tele2 says it has blocked "millions" of malware attacks this year and over 100,000 phishing scams.

Most of the attacks use a bot, "a piece of code that runs and tests your network vulnerabilities all the time, hence why they're highly effective," Tele2 Internet Business Manager Linda Marie Ormus said.

"You have something which is automated and running at all times, that doesn't eat, drink, sleep etc. … exploring where it can force the door open," Ormus went on.

User best practices include being careful never to share PIN codes and passwords, with anyone.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Iida-Mai Einmaa.

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