Fujitsu warns of the rise of disinformation attacks on home workers

  • Digital tranformation company Fujitsu has warned that the rise in disinformation during the pandemic is making people and businesses vulnerable to cyber-attack.

    When you see a scary news article that's being shared widely on social media, how do you know whether it's true? People have been spreading misinformation on social media for years, and this could be making people and businesses more vulnerable to scams and other cyber-attacks.

    Fujitsu has warned that cyber-criminals are actively taking advantage of panic and fear around contentious social issues online to spread disinformation. Political issues such as Brexit and health issues like the coronavirus lockdowns and face masks have been amplified and weaponised by cyber-criminals.

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    It's been found that criminals have been setting up phishing sites and scams targeting both sides of these contentious issues, taking advantage of the confusion caused by misinformation campaigns. By April 2020, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre had taken down around 2,000 scams, including 471 fake online shops relating to coronavirus services and 200 phishing sites.

    Fujitsu predicts that businesses and individuals will be targeted by disinformation campaigns this year focused on vaccination, health passports, immunity testing, and lockdowns. There's a particular concern about those working at home, with businesses urged to take precautions against disinformation:

    • "Ensure that employees are empowered to deal with disinformation attacks. This is not just about training them to spot these but also making sure employees feel empowered to critically assess any email and report it quickly and without fear of recrimination."
    • "Understand the threats. Threat Intelligence is a valuable part of any organisation's defense as it allows security teams to understand potential threats and mitigate them before they become a risk."
    • "Automate. Just looking at the scale and rapid pace of development of these threats shows us that 2021 will be an even busier year for security teams as they try to handle the volume of threats. Automating security processes gives security teams an advantage against these threats. It also lets them investigate real threats and richer context to ensure they know what they are dealing with."

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    Paul McEvatt, Head of Cyber Security Innovation at Fujitsu, commented: "Phishing is at the heart of these attacks – the targeting of individuals based on their beliefs, or their circumstances, to socially engineer them into a compromised situation. People are more likely to fall for a phish when related to a topic they believe in or identify with. Today, the Coronavirus pandemic is a global issue and a highly-emotional one, too, especially since it involves personal liberties and factors such as restriction on movement. There has probably never been a bigger topic for a disinformation attack."

    Source: Written based on press release


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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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