Your online life can be sold for less than Dh138 to cybercriminals
Dubai - Internet users in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa face up to 1.5 million attacks daily, according to Kaspersky.
By Sarwat Nasir
Published: Sun 20 Jan 2019, 7:55 PM
Residents in the UAE are being urged not to post too much personal data on social media as it can attract cybercriminals, who could sell this information for less than $50(Dh138).
The study, carried out by the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, shows that cybercriminals could sell a person's entire digital life, including stolen data from social media accounts, banking details, remote access to servers or desktops and even data from popular services like Uber, Netflix, and Spotify, as well as gaming websites and dating apps.
A spokesperson from the Kaspersky Lab said that a recent report by the firm showed that the UAE had witnessed a 135 per cent increase in phishing attacks since 2017.
"Users need to exercise caution when it comes to sharing too much data about themselves online. They need to keep in mind that any information they share, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could be misused by cybercriminals. Much like you wouldn't divulge your home address and phone number to a passerby on the street," the spokesperson told Khaleej Times.
"For example, many people think that posting a picture of a boarding pass to social networks is a great way to brag about their world travels, when it could also be the first step to a nightmare. The simplest way this data can be used against you is that criminals can find out when you leave and return, based on the booking number. You have made it easier for burglars or car thieves to break into your home or steal your car without hesitation. Residents needs to take responsibility when sharing information online because the consequences of being negligent could be serious."
Internet users in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa face up to 1.5 million attacks daily, according to Kaspersky. Experts witnessed an increase of 78 per cent in phishing attacks targeting the region, totaling to 20 million attacks in 2018. Ransomware attacks were also quite common the region, reaching 1.2 million attacks - a 128 per cent increase from the previous year.
Researchers at the company also found that single hacked accounts were sold at a much lower price, with many going for about $1 per account - encouraging criminals to purchase accounts in bulk. While, some criminals also offer their customers with a lifetime warranty, meaning that they'll get a new account for free if the old one stops working.
After a successful spear phishing attack, criminals get passwords which hold a combination of emails and passwords for the hacked services. And because most people use the same password for several different accounts, attackers get an easier access on other platforms as well.