Curiosity is an instinct that nowadays often takes on an unhealthy, even morbid dimension. Negative, often even drastic information about pain, death and broadly understood violence usually arouses the greatest interest. Cybercriminals take advantage of this. They create false information about accidents to extort data from network users. See what to do to avoid falling victim to criminals.
To paraphrase a well-known Polish proverb, curiosity is the first step to losing money. CERT Polska (a team established to monitor security in cyberspace) has recently recorded a large number of incidents aimed at extorting login details to social media accounts. Fraudsters use people’s curiosity to obtain confidential information about their victims and commit crimes using it (taking out loans, blackmailing, etc.). How to recognize these actions and defend against them? Check.
Cyber fraudsters “prey” on our curiosity. We are losing social sensitivity
“Criminals use already compromised accounts to publish posts with false information that are intended to generate emotions in the recipient,” we read in a statement published by CERT Polska. Usually, this type of materials contain catchy headlines such as “Shocking video: girl falls out of the window” or “Girl died on the zebra crossing. The police published the video.” After clicking on the indicated post, the user is redirected to a fake Facebook login page. When you enter your details there, they fall into the hands of fraudsters. Criminals take over the account and the information posted on it. They later use them to commit further crimes, for example extorting money, stealing, etc.
Why are we so easily fooled into clicking on this type of content? The answer is simple. We are driven by curiosity. Negative information arouses more interest in us than positive information. This is the original mechanism. Thanks to it, we can prepare for the worst and develop an action plan in the event of a “worst-case scenario”. Misfortunes are easier to analyze and interpret. On the other hand, as research shows, we are becoming more and more accustomed to violence and death. This phenomenon in psychology is called habituation. Every day we are flooded with negative information, which makes it become commonplace. We click on them unconsciously, without thinking. Our social sensitivity is blunted.
How to defend yourself against cyber fraud?
First of all, we should be vigilant when browsing websites and using social media. Any unusual information appearing on the Internet should be a warning signal for us. Before we click on a given material, let’s check its authenticity, verify the sender and content. Let’s not download any suspicious attachments. Suspicious materials can be reported to CERT Polska via the website incident.cert.pl.