There is an old saying that one of the first casualties of war is the truth. Allied to that may also be a sense of integrity and decency, at least as far as criminals are concerned, with some all too ready to profit from the suffering and misery of others.
Certainly it was just a matter of days after the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine before cyber criminals raised their ugly heads, only too willing to part the gullible or the good-hearted with their money, or to persuade them to share valuable, confidential information.
Now Brian Honan, the CFO of a leading consulting firm has warned Irish businesses and the wider community to be cautious.
He has outlined how cyber criminals look to exploit situations like this by appealing to the natural desire of people to help the victims of the invasion.
One way is to send emails to people asking them to donate money to help the victims of the war from an ostensible charity, which may not exist. Or they could create websites which contain links and, when somebody clicks on it, they could find themselves downloading a harmful device onto their device.
It is easy to do. A 2021 report found that 99% of discovered mobile malware came via third-party app stores.
Downloading software and apps is quick, convenient and easy to do, and many do so without giving it a second’s thought, especially when it comes to security.
That is why it is always worth taking that bit extra time to make sure that the website belongs to a valid provider. And it is always important to make sure that they have invested in the latest firewalls and other protective measures to ensure that data is kept safe and secure.
All the newest online casinos in Ireland use SSL (Secure Sockets layer) protocols for establishing and authenticated and encrypted links, offering the same degree of protection to consumers as the major banks.
Horton’s warning comes after several Irish institutions were the victims of Cyber-attacks from abroad, including the Royal Dublin Society (RDS).
On February 8th, data was stolen from their servers, including personal data belonging to staff members. The data was encrypted then by the hackers, making it inaccessible to the RDS, although, in this instance, unlike in similar cases, there was no demand for ransom received. The incident is still under investigation.
According to Horton, there are some simple tips that businesses and individuals can follow to help keep themselves safe online.
In the first place, people should never download a link if they are not sure it belongs to a valid supplier.
They should also make sure that devices are updated with the latest software and versions of ant-viral programs, that they use strong, unique passwords and, where possible, two-step authentication.
And, of course, passwords should never be written down or stored in a place where it is easy for others to discover them, such as an email folder, for example.
That does not mean that people should be dissuaded from showing compassion to the victims of the conflict. Just that care should be taken to ensure that money and help goes to those who need it, and not into the greedy grasp of cyber criminals.