Locked down, and safe at home, but there are still intruders and conspiracies!

Well, most of us have been isolating over the last few months and staying safe in our homes. In our Village in Suffolk, just 180 houses, we’ve still seen people dying, two of whom I know personally. It’s not been too pleasant at all.

Of course, the fraudsters have been quick to exploit the situation in order to gain their cash. I do find the mentality weird – let’s try and get money from someone by persuading them through deception, even though they are suffering mentally and physically. Sadly, as always, this is done from Jurisdictions who don’t seem to care or seem unable to follow up these crimes.

We’ve also got used to phrases like ‘Zoom Bombing’ – who had heard about Zoom before January this year and thought about accidental visitors? The market seems to put a large value on it now, as with many of the tools and software we use – who has tried to buy a Webcam, they seem almost unavailable at any price.

This leads to the thought that mobile phones have now proved themselves really useful to all those at being and working from home, for all types of communication. Has this affected the value chain, when we can still get ‘all you can eat’ data and communications’ for £30 a month? Is there any way this value can be put to use to increase company profits? A matter for further thought, as many parts of industry have now discovered that not all their employees need to be sitting in expensive offices anymore!

So, what has been happening on the security front?

David Rogers, of Copperhorse Ltd, has been keeping us up to date on twitter, and collecting information of the various scams:

There have been false links in messages encouraging people to links mentioning the Covid 19 App – someone whom you came in contact with … please click on the lick and enter all your personal details. There have been similar messages in the USA and Sweden.

David’s web site explains that the motivation is to get personal details, or money for donations of protective equipment[1].

In the UK our Tax Authorities have issued warnings on Covid 19 messages that ask people to click on bogus links to get a refund[2], and there has been joint advice from the UK and USA Cyber authorities[3] about the various issues.

So why am I interested from the mobile aspect? Well, I believe that Operators should be warning and educating customers and taking precautions. Interestingly, I’ve had nothing from my Communication Service Providers. There are many ways an Operator should be alert; indeed, the Industry Association has issued details of the attacks taking place[4]. The precautions of course can include technical measures to identify the messages to customers, and work with the authorities to catch the offenders, and of course share the information with others using the GSMA platform. As a matter of fact, David is also Chair of the GSMA Working Group concerned with these matters

Which brings us on the 5G conspiracy theories linking it Covid 19. It seems unbelievable to a rational person, that what appears to be a memory stick (available for a large sum of money) can really “protect you” from 5G[5], or that you should burn down a 5G base station[6]…. Certainly, a lot of these conspiracies are spread on the social media which so many have depended on for information when in isolation.

The world is certainly changing: The method of working changing. People exploiting misery, and a lack of science, or maybe it has always been thus? Whilst many have also commentated that we about to see the biggest change in working practices since the IT revolution began, there does seem much that needs to be done before we can embrace this brave new world safely and securely. What do you think, let us know in the comments?

[1] https://mobilephonesecurity.org/2020/04/covid-19-sms-text-message-scams-advice-for-mobile-phone-users/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples

[3] https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/covid-19-exploited-by-cyber-actors-advisory

[4] https://www.gsma.com/newsroom/resources/covid-19-mobile-cyber-security-fraud-threat-observations-and-incidents/

[5] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-52810220

[6] https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/4/21207927/5g-towers-burning-uk-coronavirus-conspiracy-theory-link

 

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