Guidance on Unsolicited Texts & Social Apps
This news bulletin is designed to help you understand the current trend risks that life enhancing technology brings, so you can better manage them and avoid harm!
The Global Corona Virus Pandemic is driving our personal and business use of technology to an unprecedented reliance. Texts, WhatsApp messaging, Social Media and Video calling apps are going viral as we strive to keep in contact with friends, family and work colleagues! They are the life enhancers and entertainers we all need currently, but that also means ‘greater opportunity’ for online criminals, circling for their next victim!
Surge in “Smishing Scams”
On 24th March 2020, HM Government took a monumental step to send an unsolicited text message to all UK registered mobile telephones, headed GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT to inform the British public of New coronavirus rules in force. The text contained a ‘click-link’ to the GOV.UK website where more detailed instructions were available. Ingenious strategy – 79% of UK adults own a smartphone!
As a consequence, there is currently a surge in so-called ‘Smishing scams’ as texts with click-links have now been legitimised by GOV.UK.
Criminals are using “Spoofing” texts and emails to make it look like you’re being contacted by genuine organisations like GOV.UK, HMRC, your bank or mortgage provider, using the Coronavirus as a cover story with a ‘click-link’ taking you to fraudulent websites in a bid to trick you into handing over your personal and financial details.
STOP and THINK when you receive an unsolicited email, call or text. NEVER click on the link, always use an independent means to verify the sender’s true identity – If in doubt, report it to your mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726 then delete it.
Latest Trend: House Party App
House Party is a face to face social network App. It is rapidly growing in popularity as a result of current Coronavirus Government advice to stay at home. It is becoming particularly popular with children due to its imbedded games, easy to use format and simultaneous multiple user facility.
• You get what you pay for, its free - You don’t pay for security or privacy!
• To use the App, you hand over your microphone and camera access. They remain activated all the time the App is open!
• To join, there is no password policy or user verification process.
• Unless you lock a chat, room and configure your settings, it is open by default – anyone can join in. Houseparty openly state that ‘Having strangers in your room is what makes it ‘Party time’.
• To use the App location services must be switched on. Users can search you by vicinity, meaning others can identify you or your family’s immediate location
• Read the small print, its your children’s safety at risk! Apps like this own the photos you take forever!
• Take time to teach your children about “Online Stranger Danger” and what to do.
These tips will keep you safer, but should you need additional support, do not hesitate to contact us on 01842 890000.
Credit: David Clarke, CaRM