Online security specialist Kaspersky Lab says that a survey carried out with B2B International of internet users over a one year period found that almost half had faced online threats involving attempted money theft. It adds that non-financial cyber attacks can also result in unforeseen expenses.
The firm notes that cybercriminals obtain valuable user data through a variety of methods. The quickest way of getting into users’ wallets is to gain access to their accounts for payment systems, such as online banking or online shops that store bank card data.
There are numerous techniques for collecting this information, the most notable including phishing pages, which imitate the official websites of the relevant institutions, and malware that collects logins and passwords as users enter them on their devices, and many more.
According to the survey, 43% of users faced financial cyber attacks during the past year, with 5% of respondents reportedly losing money as a result. This proportion rises to 9% among active users of Android tablets.
When explaining how they lost the money, 16% of respondents stated that hackers had stolen their money by gaining access to their payment services accounts. A further 11% believed they had fallen for fraudsters’ tricks and entered their credentials on a fake website, while 7% were sure that their logins and passwords had been intercepted by malware.
The average amount stolen from each user was US$218, but one victim in five lost over US$1,000 to this type of online fraud.
During the year, many users’ online accounts, such as email and social networking, were hacked. This was reported by 14% of respondents. In addition to being used by cybercriminals to send spam and malicious URLs, compromised accounts can be a source of financial losses. Information that can be found in a user’s mailbox often includes account credentials sent by payment services and online stores in response to registration and password recovery requests.
In addition, 31% of respondents reported a malware-related incident within the past year, with one incident in five resulting in financial losses. The average damage caused by malware amounted to US$161, including (among other costs), expenses associated with mitigating the consequences of infection, getting help from IT experts and purchasing specialised software.
“Some users regard cyber-threats as some sort of remote entities that can only do damage in cyberspace,” said Elena Kharchenko, head of consumer product management, Kaspersky Lab.
“However, many online threats have clear implications for our lives in the real world – be it lost data or stolen money. Rather than paying for the consequences, it makes much more sense to take care of your security beforehand.”
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