Many of us may recall having had a phone call at home from Microsoft telling us that our home computer has been compromised and we need to download software onto our machines and also pay for the privilege. It sounds such an obvious scam now but at the time they were very convincing, using urgency, impending loss of your computer contents and salvation. All in one call that many people lost thousands of pounds.
The latest version of this is the so called “router scam”. Since working from home has become an important part of our lives, the loss of our internet would be unthinkable. And yes, you guessed it, router loss is now a subject that the scammers are using.
According to Which?, the UK consumer organisation, people are being phoned by people claiming to be their internet providers. They are being told that their routers have been compromised, often in “many countries”, and that they will be shut down in a matter of hours unless action is taken. They also want to apologise and offer a refund…
Unsolicited call? Check. Sense of urgency? Check. Request for your financial details? Check. Hang up the phone and contact your internet service provider using the contact details on your original contract? Absolutely.
We would even go so far as to say you can just safely ignore this one.
According to a study by analyst firm Ponemon in 2018, it can take companies an average of 197 days to realise that an attacker has gained access to their network. In the same study, they state it takes an average of 69 days from discovering the attack to fixing it and regaining control. From start to finish, an attack lasts for roughly nine months, potentially resulting in the loss of huge amounts of confidential data and costing a lot of time, effort and money to fix.
All very fascinating, but why is this important? If you think you may have mistakenly clicked on a link that you realise you shouldn’t have, report it immediately. The amount of time it takes to confirm nothing untoward has happened is nothing to the nine expensive months if it actually did.
If in doubt, always report it!
In today’s world, you probably get a lot of requests on social media to become friends, make a connection or follow someone. It is perfectly normal, and frankly a part of modern connected life.
Unfortunately though, this open and friendly approach to social media is being exploited by criminals to create a sense of trust and build confidence in fake profiles for future gain. For instance, if your boss, mother or neighbour is connected with someone, they must be trustworthy, right? This build-up of trust can be used for exploitative purposes later on, for instance, requesting money, sharing personal details or even just getting a connection with you that will help them scam their true target later on.
The days of being able to trust everyone and to use your follower/friend count as a form of “internet clout” are long gone. If you don’t know the person connecting, haven’t met them, or can’t reasonably explain why they are connecting to you, think twice before clicking Accept.