6,494,641 Belgians unwittingly help cyber criminals
Proximus helps to take back control of the Internet
"6,491,641 Belgians unwittingly help cyber criminals." This provoking slogan underpins the largest ever Belgian awareness-raising campaign on cyber security.
The campaign of the Center for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) and the Cyber Security Coalition is sorely needed: from a study conducted by the University of Ghent it appears that 68% of Belgians have a user profile that runs an increased risk of falling victim to cyber criminality.
Millions of Belgians don't protect their computer, tablet or smartphone sufficiently or not at all. As such, they - often unwittingly - help cyber criminals to carry out attacks via unprotected devices.
The campaign calls on the general public to scan their computer for viruses and protect it against cyber criminals. You can protect your device in three ways: by ensuring you have a good virus scanner, installing updates of your programs and making back-ups. You can also avoid a great deal of trouble by recognizing fake e-mails (phishing). On the website www.safeonweb.be you can perform a scan to see whether you have a virus and get tips on how to improve your security.
As a founding member of the Cyber Security Coalition, Proximus gives its full support to this national campaign.
Andy De Petter, who heads the Proximus Cyber Defence Center, endorses the importance of this campaign.
Is the slogan "Take back the Internet" appropriate? Can end users do something about it?
Andy: Absolutely. We keep a very close eye on Proximus' mobile and fixed networks and do everything in our power to make these networks as safe as possible. To give you an example, more than 90% of all e-mails intended for our end customers do not end up in their mailbox. We’re talking here about unwanted e-mails, phishing or messages that contain a virus.
In addition to the measures that Proximus takes to protect its users, a virus scanner is a crucial tool that everyone should have. This also applies to users of Apple devices. The virus scanner protects the user at different levels, making the further spread of viruses and malware very difficult.
Are you seeing any cyber threat trends? What should today's users be particularly wary of?
Andy: Attackers go about things very cleverly, making it more difficult for users to distinguish between false messages and authentic ones. Their motives do not change, however: stealing personal data or inciting the victim to carry out a financial transaction. Are you being contacted to carry out a transaction or asked to provide personal information? In that case, be very careful. Type the URL into your browser instead of clicking on a link.
Another trend, more on a technological level, is that we're bringing more and more "smart" devices into our homes which we connect to our home network. Bear in mind that these devices increasingly resemble a traditional computer, and that you should therefore also protect them properly. With a password for instance. Also, install the latest software.
What is the most important tip you can give to an end user?
Andy: Fix the basics. You can avoid many problems with the following four-pronged approach.
- First and foremost, use a virus scanner on every device, including on your tablet or smartphone.
- Also, ensure your software is always up to date.
- Next, use complex passwords which contain figures, punctuation marks and capitals.
- Finally, use different passwords for online services. This way, damage to your personal and financial data will be limited should an attacker get hold of one of your passwords.