How to protect your gadgets from scammers

Cybercriminals are constantly preying on other people's personal data. They attack phones, tablets and computers with the help of malware, lure secret information from bank customers with social engineering tricks. We tell you how to protect your privacy and fight back against intruders.

What data do scammers need?

The key to the money in your account can be the card details, including the expiration date, three digits from the turnover, as well as passwords and codes from the bank's notifications. Or logins and passwords from your online bank and other applications and personal accounts to which payment information is linked.

Scammers lure out confidential data with the help of social engineering and phishing.They often send messages with links to malware or files containing viruses. With their help, cybercriminals hope to gain remote access to gadgets and steal secret data from them.

The bank does not compensate for anything if the person himself informed the scammers of confidential information or voluntarily installed a spyware program.

How to protect devices from cybercriminals?

Follow the main rules of cyber hygiene.

Use antiviruses

Install antivirus programs on all the gadgets you use. Then scammers will not be able to get hold of the data from your device, even if you click on a malicious link. The main thing is not to forget to update the security systems.

Constantly update the system

Attackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in software and applications, and manufacturers regularly release updates and strengthen antivirus protection. Therefore, it is important to always use the latest version of programs. In the settings of your gadget, find the automatic update function and turn it on. Hacking an updated device is much more difficult.

Download only proven applications

Download apps from trusted sources. For example, for iOS phones and tablets – from the AppStore, for Android – from Google Play. Before downloading, read the comments of other users on profile forums to learn in advance about the possible risks of using the program. And also make sure that it is actively updated by the developer – the official stores usually indicate the date of the last changes.

If you have downloaded an application, but do not use it at all, it is better to delete it. What if he has weak cyber defense? Reduce the risk of hacking your device.

Do not install programs at the request of strangers

It's not just malicious apps that pose a threat. Sometimes scammers use legal remote access programs to control the device on your behalf.

With the help of remote access programs, criminals can read SMS messages from the bank with secret codes and passwords, log into your online bank, transfer money or issue a loan on your behalf.

Study your privacy settings

When installing applications, pay attention to the privacy settings. Is it really necessary to share a list of your contacts or geolocation with the program?

Allow access only if it is really necessary: for example, the location is needed for the taxi application, but it is hardly important to the task calendar. If you are not satisfied with the access rights requirements, choose another application.

When the user agreement is updated in the program, do not rush to accept the terms immediately – first study them carefully.

Choose complex passwords

The password must consist of at least eight characters: numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, special characters. It is better not to use popular words and well-known abbreviations. No dates of birth, names and surnames. Passwords should be different for each account – do not repeat yourself. And enter the password again manually each time – do not save it for automatic input.

If possible, set up double identification: then, in addition to entering a password, the system will request confirmation of entry each time using a code that instantly comes in an SMS, push notification or email address.

How can I secure my data in case my phone goes missing?

These risks should be considered in advance. Follow three steps:

  1. Turn on the lock. To protect your device, enable automatic screen lock. Use a password, fingerprint or Face ID – the owner's face recognition function.
  2.  Set up tracking. Install a program that allows you to remotely track the location of the device. In case of theft or loss, you will be able to see where your gadget is located, connect to it and even remotely erase all information from it. For example, Android–based devices have a Google Find My Device phone search function, Samsung devices have a similar Samsung Find My Mobile option, and iOS devices have Find My iPhone. Be sure to activate them in advance in the gadget settings.
  3.  Create backups. Regularly make a "backup" – backup of your data. This option allows you to save the configuration of your device settings, all applications and other information. This will help you recover data from a lost or stolen phone faster and transfer it to a new one.

What should I do if my phone is stolen?

If you have lost your phone with a number that is linked to your bank account, act as if you have lost your card. Call the bank's hotline or run to its branch and ask to block all cards, mobile and online banking.

After that, just in case, call your number: perhaps someone has found the phone and is ready to return it to you.

If the gadget was stolen, write a statement to the police about the theft. Take a certified copy of this statement – it may be needed at the bank if criminals manage to hack the phone and online banking and steal money from accounts.

What if the scammers hacked the stolen phone and withdrew money from the accounts?

In this case, you can count on compensation only under two conditions:

  1.  You have not violated the security rules. For example, they did not inform the fraudsters of confidential card data, usernames and passwords from online banking, your device was password protected at the time of theft, as were all applications to which payment information is linked.
  2.  You have challenged the write–off in time - no later than the next day after you received a notification from the bank about an operation that you did not commit.
  3.  To compensate for the losses, as soon as possible, write a statement to the bank that the transactions took place without your consent, ask for an internal investigation and a refund. Emphasize that you have followed the rules of cyber hygiene. And attach a copy of the phone theft statement that you made to the police.

If a loan has been issued to you, then ask the bank to invalidate the contract with a separate application. Ask to postpone the start of loan payments until the investigation is completed. In cases where the bank does not agree to delay payments, it is better to make them so as not to spoil your credit history. When the contract is canceled, you will be able to demand that you get paid back.

If you have complied with all security requirements, but the bank does not listen to your arguments, complain about it to the bank's online reception.