In today’s digital age, mobile phones and computers have become prime targets for cybercriminals looking to steal sensitive information. We’ll shine a light on three widespread scams that exploit access to mobile and computer devices: Juicejacking, Broadband Internet Security Scams, and SIM Swap Scams.
Juice jacking: Juice jacking is a cunning cyber attack that exploits public charging ports. While these ports are handy when our mobile device’s battery is low, they can also become conduits for data theft and malware installation.
How it works
Scammers modify a public charging port and implant malware into it. When you connect your mobile device to this manipulated charging port, the malware infects your device and gives hackers access to sensitive data such as contacts, emails, messages, photos, videos and financial credentials.
1. Always carry a power bank for a safer and more convenient charging option.
2. Look for electrical outlets instead of USB plugs as they prevent data transfer and provide protection against malware.
3. If you need to use a public USB charging port, turn off your device before plugging it in to prevent data transfer.
4. Use charging cables that serve only charging purposes without data transfer capabilities.
1. Avoid using USB charging in public places to minimize the risk of Juice Jacking.
Broadband Internet Security Scams: Scammers pose as employees of reputable computer or telecommunications companies and claim technical problems with your computer, Internet connection, or phone line. They may claim that your broadband connection has been hacked. The caller will then request remote access to your computer to ‘find out what the problem is’. In this way, they can gain unauthorized access to all your files and data on your computer. They may also try to trick you into buying unnecessary software or services or force you to divulge personal and financial information.
How it works:
Unsolicited phone call from scammer pretending to be a tech support provider.
They claim that your computer has technical problems and ask for remote access.
They may suggest purchasing software or services to repair the computer.
They may also request your personal and financial information for presumed payment.
1. Hang up immediately on unsolicited calls requesting remote access to your computer.
2. Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus, anti-spyware software and a reliable firewall for protection.
1. Never disclose personal, credit card, or online account information to unsolicited callers or suspicious emails and messages.
SIM swap scam: Also known as port out scam or SIM splitting. The SIM swap scam is a sophisticated account takeover scam that exploits two-factor authentication. Fraudsters collect customers’ personal information in various ways, such as phishing or vishing, in order to obtain a new SIM card in the customer’s name. They then use this SIM card to intercept SMS or calls containing one-time passwords (OTPs) to conduct fraudulent transactions from the victim’s bank accounts.
How it works:
Fraudsters collect customers’ personal information and use it to obtain a new SIM card in the customer’s name.
With the new SIM, they receive OTPs and access the victim’s bank accounts for fraudulent transactions.
1. Contact your mobile operator immediately if your phone number remains inactive for an extended period of time.
2. Regularly review your bank account alerts and statements and report any suspicious transactions or activity.
1. Never share your personal and confidential details with unknown people who call from unverified numbers or send emails and messages from suspicious addresses.
2. Avoid giving the 20-digit number on the back of your SIM card.
3. Do not share your phone number on social media or other websites.
Being aware is half the battle won in protecting against fraud. Be alert and wary of unusual requests or suspicious activity to protect your sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.
(Salil Datar has over three decades (including CXO level) in banking, neo-banking and cross-border financial services)
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Published on: Sunday, August 13, 2023, 07:00 AM IST
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