Cyber attacks alert by bank

A WARNING has gone out to the public to exercise extreme caution owing to a rise in cyber attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bahrain’s banking regulator yesterday urged consumers to keep track of their transactions, and refrain from sharing personal information with third parties.

Experts in the past have warned of a global digital fraud wave during Covid-19 that targets individuals including those who work from home using insecure WiFi networks that are exploited by cybercriminals through malware, phishing and ransomware.

“The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) would like to warn consumers to be cautious and vigilant with short message services (SMS), telephone calls, smartphone applications, and websites, especially when dealing with their personal and banking information,” the regulator stated yesterday.

“This warning comes as a result of increased cyber attacks and fraud globally during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The CBB in its advisory urged consumers to check SMS alerts to keep track of their transactions, and change their password periodically while accessing banking services online.

“The CBB urges consumers to not respond to any calls received through smartphone apps (such as Viber, etc.) claiming to be a bank service provider and requesting personal and banking information.

“Banks would never use a smartphone app to request sensitive information.”

Furthermore, the CBB said individuals should not enter sensitive information in any pop-up window while browsing and ensure their banking information is kept confidential.

“They should be alert about any fake websites, emails, telephone calls, and text messages which are possibly linked to fraud organisations specialised in embezzlement,” it said.

Since the start of the year, the regulator has been warning the public against dealing with unlicensed entities that market investments on social media platforms.

The GDN reported in June that Bahrain witnessed 5,000 cyberattacks on smartphones in 2020 with an increase during quarantine, according to Kaspersky, a multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider.

Researchers from the firm saw that the number of malicious attacks on mobile users in the kingdom reached 4,940 from January to June this year.

They also highlighted that Bahrain was the second most targeted nation in the Middle East last year by cyber criminals who focused on financial institutions.

It stated that Banking Trojans or ‘bankers’ were one of the most widespread tools for cybercriminals keen on stealing money from customers in the Middle East.

The form documented a total of 773,943 users of Kaspersky solutions who were attacked by banking Trojans.

In the Middle Eastern corporate sector, Egypt was ranked first by cyber criminals in terms of the share of affected corporate users attacked by banking malware that accounted for 43 per cent.

It was followed by Bahrain (41pc), the UAE (37pc), Qatar (35pc), Kuwait (34pc) and Saudi Arabia (30pc).

The firm said the trojans searched for users’ credentials for e-payment and online banking systems, hijacking one-time passwords, and then passing that data to the attackers.

The General Directorate for Anti- Corruption, Economic and Electronic Security in April advised the public not to open suspicious emails and share their personal information including credit card details as part of a phishing scam targeting Apple users’ email that attempted to steal valuable information.




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