They come to you as business partners, sellers and even friends. You give them your personal details, bank account information and sometimes even deposit money to make an online payment.
Then, all of a sudden, you realise it was a trap, they were never a legitimate business partner but just a malicious online fraudster. Such crimes have become commonplace, even in Zimbabwe. From spam emails that seek to harm you, to malicious software that wants to destroy your data, one can never fully feel safe on the internet.
An added concern is how we are now able to go online from any device, making us vulnerable when we use our laptops, tablets or smartphones. According to statistics, over 80% of Zimbabweans are at threat of being attacked online. Individuals and organisations must therefore take measures that guarantee online safety.
One operating system worth mentioning is Android. With 60% of the market using Android to interact it is a prime hunting ground for fraudsters and hackers. Users must take care when downloading apps to only get them from reputable sources such as the Google Play Store. A reputable antivirus solution is also highly recommended. CM Security for example scans all apps for viruses before installation takes place. An added precaution would be disabling the developer option that is found under settings on your android device so that apps do not gain access to information that you store on the device as it can be used against you. In addition to a reliable antivirus solution, use a web filter that scans each website you visit and tells you if it is safe or not and blocks any harmful content from opening.
It is important to know that a cyber-criminal might not always come from a virus attack or spam email but that individuals or groups we interact with could also be a source of harm. When interacting on social networks be it Facebook or Whatsapp, be careful who you chat with and what information you are giving them. Cases in Zimbabwe have arisen of couples and friends who have cut ties because of Facebook or Whatsapp. Some have lost money to a fraudulent company they met in a Whatsapp group and some have even been kidnapped after giving their contact details to a stranger on Facebook.
There can be no doubt about the importance of protecting yourself online, and we need to get familiar with the tools available to so, as well as erring on the side of caution in all our interactions to avoid the increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals looking to rob us of our hard earned cash or worse.
Frampol is a technology solutions provider based in Zimbabwe and offers cutting edge solutions for everyday problems. Do you want to be safe online and stop being a victim of cybercrime? If yes email firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp us at 0772 426 227 for a free consultation.
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FrampolIT. Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/FrampolAfrica.