Qatar- Surge in cybercrimes during pandemic globally, says expert | #cyberfraud | #criminal | #cybercrimnals

(MENAFN – The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: The Institute of Internal Auditors Qatar Chapter (IIA Qatar) held a virtual event recently where participants discussed the typical cybercrimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, its trends, indicators, conclusions and recommendations based on first-cut analysis of data. 

Experts during the event reiterated that cybercrimes have been happening for decades, and have shown some patterns in terms of attack vectors including verticals for penetration, demographic variables and their influence on types of crimes. 

The seminar also featured Valiant Technologies CEO Dr K Rama Subramaniam as trainer during the event. Subramaniam is the former Chairman of Center of Excellence in Digital Forensics and current Global Chair at the International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals in the US. He served as India’s country representative at the International Federation for Information Processing. 

Speakig during the event, he said: ‘The pandemic has impacted every walk of life. Cybercrimes are no exception. This pandemic brings out the best but unfortunately also the worst in humanity. There was this brief shining moment when we hoped that cybercriminals would think that taking advantage of this pandemic for personal profit might be beyond the pale. Sadly that has not been the case. 

He said the COVID-19 themed attacks and total encounters data indicate a definite trend of massive surge from March to June 2020 in both unique and total encounters. Crime taxonomy during the pandemic in cybercrimes, child exploitation and disinformation campaigns were elaborated. 

Cyber driven crimes such as Phishing attacks, Trojans for stealing information, Ransomware, Teleworkers vulnerability and Pharma Scams also showed significant jumps. Ransomware is both high in numbers and impact during the pandemic with Work From Home causing loss of sensitive information. 

‘Zoom bombing, Multiple fault lines and others result in home environment compromises where Convenience vs Security vulnerability of teleworkers should be addressed, he said. 

He added that to make home cyber a safe stronghold, there must be frequent change of Wi-Fi default router password, Review apps’ permission, Secured devices with pin or biometrics, Installed antivirus on all connected devices, and Strong password for social media. He went on to explain that the pharma scams included COVID-19 cure, Charity advice, and Vaccine information. He added that out of the 70,000 COVID-19 Pharma websites, about 18,000 were found fake. 

‘There is data on increasing downloads of about 254 percent during the pandemic, which is a concern for exposure, particularly for children. The disinformation campaign is another area of concern with origins across the globe with varying motivation such as mischief, fun, sadism and so on, he said.  IIA Qatar Board Member Sundaresan Rajeswar, added: ‘The ubiquity of reach by cybercriminals and their varying methods need adequate understanding for ensuring safeguard. The stakeholders need to bring about a concerted effort at limiting the spread of cybercrimes during the trying and testing times of a pandemic. Dr Rama’s presentation and Q & A provided succinct but requisite knowledge in the subject having extensive scope. 

Rajeswar coordinated the event with Girish Jain, Muralikrishna and Murtaza. Earlier, IIA Vice President Fahad Al Marri, welcomed the attendees, and added: ‘We are one of the Chapters that focuses on member learning as a priority so that they are equipped to deliver proactive, value-added service to their organisations. During this pandemic, IIA Qatar Chapter so far conducted seven knowledge sharing sessions sourcing experts globally and more sessions are lined up with Global President, Past Chairman and incumbent Global Chair of the IIA.


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