The cost of ‘cybercrime’ damage expected to reach $8 trillion by 2022, FB most affected brand for ‘phishing attempts’

In a brand phishing attack, criminals try to imitate the official website of a well-known brand by using a similar domain name or URL and web-page design to the genuine site.

The concept of cyber security has itself undergone huge transformation in the wake of ‘modern technologies’ and increasing influence of ‘social medias’ such as facebook and twitter etc. It has assumed proportions; external as well as internal threats. Following the recent report, released by ‘Check Point Research’, on Feb 7, “The threat intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies, Yahoo was the most imitated brand for email-based phishing while Swedish music streaming app Spotify the most imitated for web-based phishing attempts”.

The report reveals that ‘Cybercriminals’, ‘cyberterrorism’ imitated Facebook (FB) the most for ‘phishing attempts’ in their attempts to steal individuals personal information or payment credentials during October-December period (2019) which is the busiest online shopping periods of the year. In a brand phishing attack, cyber criminals try to imitate the official website of a well-known brand by using a similar domain name or URL and web-page design to the genuine site, the report remarked.

According to ‘Brand Phishing Report for Q4 2019’, “The link to the fake website can be sent to targeted individuals by email or text message, redirected during web browsing, or triggered from a fraudulent mobile application. The fake website often contains a form intended to steal users credentials, payment details or other personal information”.

Meanwhile, “Cybercriminals are using a series of attack vectors to trick their intended victims into giving up personal information and login credentials or transferring money,” remarked Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence and Research, Check Point Software Technologies. “Although this is often done using spam emails, we have also seen attackers obtain credentials to email accounts, study their victim for weeks and craft a targeted attack against partners and customers to steal money,” he added.

Netflix was third at 5%, followed by ‘Paypal’ at 5%, Microsoft at 3%. During Q4 2019, there were significant differences in the brands being used in each phishing vector. For instance, the target in the mobile vector was on major technology and social media brands as well as banks. Notably, Check Point’s Threat Cloud database holds over 250 million addresses analysed for bot discovery, more than 11 million malware signatures and over 5.5 million infected websites, and identifies millions of malware types daily.

Another research by Cybercrime Ventures reveals that, The cost of cybercrime damage could reach $6 trillion annually by 2021. And this rapid increase in damage is due to the fact that more and more agencies – companies are shifting towards digital assets for their businesses. So hackers-criminals now have more causes to attack companies including top governmental agencies etc.

Following the same, The projected $6 trillion figure – rise from $3 trillion in 2015 – will make cybercrime more profitable for “cyber criminals” than the “global trade” of all major illegal drugs combined, as they employ ever more sophisticated techniques to lock systems, destroy data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, disruption to business, reputational damage and exploit vulnerabilities in networks and devices.

Several research papers has been also remarked that, Cyberattacks are expected to cost businesses and organizations, from the projected figure “$6 trillion by 2021” to “$8 trillion by 2022”. Also, The latest cyber-attacks have closed down small businesses, delayed medical services at hospitals, closed down government services, and more. As we are witnessing rapid adoption of modern technology in every sector, the union government has surely put India on a ‘digital innovation’ fast track to achieving the $5 trillion economy. So in this direction, the government need to fix-cycle such kind of attacks.

The increased figure amounts to the biggest transfer of economic wealth in history. Significantly, The Indian Cyber crime Coordination Centre to act as a nodal point in the fight against cyber crime. It will identify the research problems and needs of law enforcement agencies and take up R&D activities in developing latest technologies and forensic tools in collaborations with academia and research institutes across the world.

Causes for such cyber attacks is the lack of cyber hygiene and technical debt in the software infrastructure of the country. What it means is that it lacks security patches against newly discovered vulnerabilities. And, that is the major cause why India needs a ‘bigger cybersecurity strategy’ for securing information and data at digital space. Notably, Technology firms are making the pledge to protect customers from cyber-attacks, as well as making sure they don’t help governments advance their cyber warfare efforts. As we are adopting different and modern technologies, it’s a dire need of the hour for cyber-safe society.​

A risk management era will also helps keep the board involved in our cyber security efforts, and enables to adjust our strategy as the threat landscape changes. Organisations and CEO’s must create access controls to ensure that employees can only access data and information that’s important to their work. The globe consequences of cyber attempts have been repeatedly proven, so come together to fight cybercriminals and stop future attacks from causing even more damage.

Consequently, ‘Cyber technology’ has become one of the top threats. In this regard, ‘Cyber Swachhta Kendra’ is a good step by union government under the Digital India initiative, while the country also underlined the need to take forward inter-alia people-to-people cooperation, cooperation in science, technology and innovation in order to get rid about the same. Many leaders and RBI have been recommending a to set up a board for a country-wide Cyber Security Policy which gives a needed framework and the strategy to cycle cyber threats at large.

Author, Trilok Singh, Currently Studies Masters in Mass Communication & Journalism at International School of Media and Entertainment Studies, News 24 Campus. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Currently, CEO at Youth Darpan Media, IASmind, & India s Journal. Forthcoming Media House is Online Media 24.

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