Telcos: Cybercrime more profitable than illegal drugs

Cybercrime will cost the world more than $10 trillion annually in 2025, making the illicit industry more profitable than the cross-border trade of illegal drugs.

This was according to PLDT and Smart Communication Inc.’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG), quoting data from Cybersecurity Ventures, Saturday, August 13.

Cybercrime’s impact is so great that if it was a country, it will be the world’s third largest economy after the United States and China.

For this reason, “It is best to adopt a culture of cybersecurity. We must be mindful of who we share our personal information with,” Angel Redoble, First Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer of the PLDT Group, underscored.

“When in doubt, end the call and do not open links from unverified sources,” he advised.

So far, PLDT and Smart’s CSOG have identified ‘social engineering’ as the current go-to game plan of malicious actors in the internet.

“Cybercriminals use a variety of psychological manipulation to trick the public into sharing sensitive data like passwords or personal information they can use to log into the victim’s accounts including digital wallets,” Redoble explained.

The telco’s CSOG likened ‘social engineering’ to the ‘budol-budol’ modus of the 1990s where criminals pretended to be personal acquaintances to coax victims into handing over money or valuables.

However, in the new millennium, fraudsters have moved to different platforms to run their criminal activities.

It started with ‘phishing’, a type of social engineering where criminals send fraudulent emails with links to malicious sites.

Often masked as promos or notices from legitimate companies, victims are tricked into clicking the link which directs them to a website that asks for their personal data.

‘Phishing’ activities have since found their way into other channels where fraudsters use voice calls or ‘vishing’, text messages or ‘smishing’, and QR codes or ‘quishing’ to deceive their victims.

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