Proximus reveals smartphones, tablets are putting consumers at risk of cyber attack

Proximus revealed that close to 70 per cent of Belgians are unwittingly aiding cyber criminals, as it announced its participation in the launch of a nationwide public awareness campaign.

The Belgian operator is a founding member of the Cyber Security Coalition, a cross-sector partnership between public authorities, private sector companies and the academic world designed to help combat cyber crime. Proximus stated that the campaign is necessary as research reveals that close to 6.5 million Belgian citizens have an online user profile that is at risk of falling victim to cyber crime.

Inadequate protection of mobile devices including smartphones and tablet PCs is, in part, to blame for the high proportion of potential victims, the operator stated.

Andy De Petter, head of Proximus’ Cyber Defence Centre, said that typical cyber crimes involve “stealing personal data or inciting the victim to carry out a financial transaction”.

While the operator does all it can to prevent subscribers falling victim to cyber attacks, users must also play a part by regularly scanning for viruses. A “virus scanner is a crucial tool that everyone should have,” De Petter said, adding that owners of Apple devices should also scan for viruses, despite the vendor stating that its products already carry high-levels of protection from attacks.

De Petter explained that the trend towards smart homes is only increasing the potential for people falling victim to cyber crimes. “[W]e’re bringing more ‘smart’ devices into our homes,” which “increasingly resemble a traditional computer”. That means such emerging devices should also be properly protected, for example through use of passwords and by installing the latest software available.

The Cyber Security Coalition has set up a website that consumers can use to scan their devices for viruses, and is seeking to raise awareness of potentially malicious phishing emails.

De Petter said that in addition to utilising the website and installing anti-virus software on mobile and fixed devices, people should protect themselves by using complex passwords that “contain figures, punctuation marks and capitals.” Users should also “use different passwords for online services,” to help to limit “damage to your personal and financial data” in the event that one password is cracked by cyber criminals.

For more:
- see this Proximus announcement

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