By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Users of various social media platforms in Kuwait have reported an increase in online scams by fraudsters using those platforms as a base, with a significant increase reported in dangerous and highly targeted online scams. Taking advantage of people’s fears and concerns, scammers trick users into clicking on links or attachments that contain malware.
To understand the issue from a legal perspective, Kuwait Times spoke to Mohammad Al-Jasem, a lawyer and Interpol-accredited expert on international law enforcement cooperation. “Internet fraud has two sides: one where the money transfer takes place within the country and one where the transfer takes place outside the country,” he said. “In any case, there are two ways to track this crime by IP address.”
He added: “If the money transfer was in Kuwait, the victim can file a case with the scammer’s username and the Kuwait Cybercrime Department can track him by IP address. The department is contacting website owners to collect data about the scammer. It traces the internet line and reveals the data about the wanted person.”
Jasem revealed that wire money scams could be complicated. If the transfer was made within local banks, the government can trace the name of the bank account holder and the exact amount transferred, Jasem explained. “On the other hand, if the money is transferred out of the country, once the IP address is determined, the correspondence is done,” he said. “But most social media platforms or major companies do not cooperate in this regard under the pretext of maintaining the privacy of their customers, except in cases of a threat of murder.”
He indicated that scamming through social media platforms can be a real problem. There are cases where the scammer’s accounts could be blocked but the victims’ money could never be returned. “The amount can be traced through the bank, where sometimes there is cooperation between the Cybercrime Department and the relevant departments in other countries of the Interpol offices,” he explained.
“Scam money is considered a form of money laundering because the source of the money is illegal,” he pointed out. “The crimes are linked. The most difficult case is unencrypted transfer. Transfers are delivered to anyone with ID, even if it’s fake, and most scammers use this method. It is considered a clever scam.”
Group-IB, one of the world’s leaders in cyber security, published a report on Tuesday saying it had identified a large-scale phishing campaign targeting users in the Middle East by impersonating well-known postal services in several Arab countries, including Kuwait. . As of 2020, over 270 domains have been discovered using regional delivery and postal service marks. All domains were part of one massive phishing infrastructure.
The pandemic-induced explosive growth of online shopping has created a perfect storm for threat actors, who have found fertile ground to invent new attack scenarios. Globally, CERT-GIB identified more than 400 domains impersonating postage stamps as part of this phishing campaign, with more than half of them (276) targeting users in the Middle East. In the Middle East in particular, fraudsters impersonated more than 13 different delivery brands, postal operators and public companies in at least eight different countries, including Kuwait and other Arab countries.
Recently, Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity, released its annual “Navigating Frontiers New” report for 2021, highlighting the growing threat of cyber attacks targeting individuals and digital infrastructures in a hybrid business environment.
The report indicated that Trend Micro solutions responded to more than 94.2 billion threats globally during 2021, a 42% increase in the number of detected detections compared to 2020. The report also revealed a huge increase in the number of attacks , which reached over 53. billion in the second half of last year, compared to 41 billion threats in the first half of 2021.
In Kuwait, Trend Micro solutions blocked nearly 15 million email attacks, responded to more than 1.7 million malware attacks, and prevented more than 3.5 million attacks related to victims clicking on malicious links. In addition, the report stated that Household networks in Kuwait were a magnet for cybercriminals targeting systems, devices and networks, and in this regard, Trend Micro’s “Smart Home Network” solutions blocked nearly 400,000 internal and external attacks , as well as prevented more than 700,000 attacks from hackers seeking to target or control home networks.