Cybercrime up amid pandemic as cybercriminals ‘professionalize’: expert


Posted at Dec 21 2021 11:08 AM | Updated as of Dec 21 2021 11:17 AM

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MANILA - Cyber attacks have increased during the pandemic with criminal hackers becoming more “professional”, a cybersecurity expert said on Tuesday. 

Chester Wisniewski, principal scientist at global cybersecurity firm Sophos, said the average cost of data theft has nearly doubled in 2021 from 2020, as hackers took advantage of companies opening up their systems to accommodate work-from-home arrangements. 

“And there’s no sign of it slowing down, unfortunately,” Wisniewski said in an interview with ANC.

Wisniewski said the trend has also shifted from lone hackers targeting businesses and individuals to organized groups that have become more “professionalized.” 

He said members of these organizations specialize in social tricks to lure people into giving up their data, while some specialize in laundering stolen money through cryptocurrency. The Sophos expert also said some groups have even hired professional translators “to get the language correct” in their scams. 

He noted that some scams “no longer have tell-tale signs in those poorly written spam” from 7 or 10 years ago. 

This level of professionalism used to be seen only from government hackers, he said. 

To avoid becoming a victim of a cyberattack, Wisniewski recommends that users always keep their OS and apps up-to-date. He also recommends installing up-to-date security software. 

Using different passwords for different websites will also help, he said. Internet users can manage these different passwords using an app. Wisniewski also said users should contact their company’s security team if they receive a suspicious email.