Held ransom by hacker attacks
During the Christmas holiday season, fraudulent spam emails frequently exploit the brands of trusted online shopping sites and courier services with ransomeware.
Ty Miller, founder of computer security consultancy Threat Intelligence said one of the most worrying developments in cyber protection was the rise of so-called ‘ransomware’. Randsomeware attacks involve - malware that locks the victim’s computer data in a virtual vault that can’t be opened unless the victim pays a fee.
“Spam emails tend to be distributed seasonally so coming up to Christmas you’re probably going to see emails from [a courier] saying that they have a package waiting and to click a link to get details,” says Ty.
There is also another prevalent form of ransomware that is capable of intercepting internet banking sessions that collects login credentials and credit card information.
“It’ll actually re-write your internet banking page so that it will collect your username and password, and sometimes it may inject new fields to collect your credit card number,” he warned.
Beyond phishing emails
The potential for digital grief over Christmas doesn’t stop at phishing emails. Animated e-cards and even free mobile phone games can also comprise consumers’ information security.
Consumers should pay close attention to who is sending the potential spam email containing the link. Always “make sure it’s coming from a trusted party and even check that the wording looks like it’s coming from the person who purportedly sent it” he explained.
In recent years the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had received hundreds of complaints about phishing and scam emails that resulted in financial losses reaching well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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