Dubai: Facebook users in the UAE are at a greater risk of online fraud by social network phishing attacks aimed at stealing personal data via fake Facebook pages, said a global cybersecurity firm on Tuesday.
Kaspersky said the UAE was among the top five countries subjected to social network phishing attacks “of which, 60 per cent were fake Facebook pages”, said the firm,
Kaspersky labs said in the first three months of 2018, Germany was the most targeted country followed by Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and the UAE.
Kaspersky’s anti-phishing technologies prevented more than 3.7 million attempts to lure people to visit fraudulent social network pages.
“The continuous increase in phishing attacks — targeting both social networks and financial organisations — shows us that users need to pay more serious attention to their online activities. Despite the recent global scandals, people continue to click on unsafe links and allow unknown apps access to their personal data. Due to this lack of user vigilance, the data on a huge number of accounts gets lost or extorted from users. This can then lead to destructive attacks and a constant flow of money for the cybercriminals,” said Nadezhda Demidova, lead web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab in a press release.
According to Kaspersky Lab’s report, ‘Spam and phishing in Q1 2018’, the results “demonstrate that cybercriminals are still doing what they can to get their hands on personal data”.
“Social network phishing is a form of cybercrime that involves the theft of personal data from a victim’s social network account. The fraudster creates a copy of a social networking website (such as a fake Facebook page), and tries to lure unsuspecting victims to it, forcing them to give up their personal data — such as their name, password, credit card number, PIN code, and more — in the process.”
Kaspersky officials said that at the beginning of 2018, Facebook was the most popular social networking brand for fraudsters to abuse and Facebook pages were frequently faked by cybercriminals to try and steal personal data via phishing attacks.
This is part of a long-term trend: in 2017, Facebook became one of the top three targets for phishing overall, at nearly eight per cent, followed by Microsoft Corporation (six per cent) and PayPal (five per cent), the firm’s experts said.
“In Q1 2018, Facebook also led the social network phishing category, followed by VK — a Russian online social networking service — and LinkedIn. The reason for this is likely to be the worldwide 2.13 billion active monthly Facebook users, including those who log in to unknown apps using their Facebook credentials, thereby granting access to their accounts,” the firm said.
Tips to stay safe
Kaspersky Lab experts advise online users to take the following measures:
Always check the link address and the sender’s email before clicking anything — even better, don’t click on the link, but type it into your browser’s address line instead.
Before clicking on any link, check if the link address shown is the same as the actual hyperlink (the real address the link will take you to) — this can be checked by hovering your mouse over the link.
Only use a secure connection, especially when you visit sensitive websites.
Check the HTTPS connection and domain name when you open a webpage. This is especially important when you are using websites which contain sensitive data — such as sites for online banking, online shops, email, social media sites etc.
Never share your sensitive data, such as logins and passwords, bank card data etc, with a third party. Official companies will never ask for data like this via email.