Cyber security awareness key to combat scams in Bahrain
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
There have been various types of scams sweeping Bahrain, prompting authorities to increase cyber security awareness throughout the Kingdom.
There are many types of scams; however, the most common occurring in the Kingdom is phishing. The Daily Tribune previously reported that 735,244 phishing attacks were recorded in Bahrain in Q2 of this year.
Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted through email, telephone, or text message, by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data.
Also reported previously by The Daily Tribune, 83 percent of respondents in Bahrain stated that they or their loved ones had experienced scams via social networks in 2021. Sadly, as technology and social media have advanced at such a rapid rate, this has given scammers more opportunities to reach users directly through social media platforms.
Speaking to The Daily Tribune, Yaqoob Alawadhi, founder and CEO of NGN International, said: “The most common scam occurring in the Kingdom is phishing of personal data like CPR number, bank OTPs, etc. We have also seen a lot of voice phishing, and many of these scams are happening via fraud websites.
“Cybercriminals are using an SMS, creating urgency that the user’s bank account will be blocked, to potentially harvest personal and sensitive account information. Usually, the text message includes a link to a fake website that impersonates the bank’s brand and asks the user to enter personal information such as a username, password, or their CPR number.”
Unfortunately, Alawadhi said that the older generation are more susceptible or vulnerable to such kinds of attacks; however, anyone can fall victim to these scams, regardless of their age. Further explaining, Alawadhi said: “Corporations have also been affected by these types of attacks.
Essentially, corporations have been targeted by spear phishing emails, where the cybercriminals use publicly available information to impersonate C-level management and board members to intercept internal communication and request fund transfers.”
According to The Director of National Intelligence, the goal of spear phishing is to acquire sensitive information such as personal information. Today, phishing scams are more sophisticated as identities are masked, messages are tailored, and email content appears legitimate.
Additionally, there has also been a considerable number of Ransomware attacks that can lead to a loss of data, brand reputation, and funds. As there has been an increase in scams across the Kingdom, cyber security awareness is essential to combat the issue.
Alawadhi said: “Cyber security awareness amongst users of all age groups, both as individuals and employees, across all levels of management and hierarchies is the best way to combat cyber threats in the Kingdom.”
“Essentially, if more people are becoming educated on the nature of these attacks and are also aware of different types of scams occurring in the Kingdom, they can act quicker to realise that this is an attempt to steal personal information or money.
“During the pandemic, the NGN International launched “NGN Majlis”, which is a platform to spread awareness and help in the national and regional efforts to fight against the issue of cybercrime.”