Online shopping scams: how to protect yourself and your money in the holiday season

During the holiday season, online shopping becomes increasingly popular and incurs in a significant spike. While online shoppers browse the internet for the best offers on their product of choice and on gifts for their loved ones, cybercriminals are lurking, waiting to target unsuspecting online shoppers and steal their money and personal information.

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The pandemic has provided more opportunities for hackers, with a further acceleration of criminal activities in 2021. Approximately half the stolen accounts are linked to entertainment sites, mainly gaming and online dating.

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SIAE Data Breach

News of the latest cyberattack comes from Italy, where on the afternoon of the 20th October it was disclosed that SIAE, the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers, was targeted by a ransomware attack. SIAE, which was founded in 1882, is the Italian copyright collecting agency for artists in different areas of the entertainment industry, including television, music, theatre, visual arts and literature, and aims to guarantee that artists receive the right remuneration for their work.

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Lazio Region in Italy hit by ransomware attack

The frequency and sophistication of ransomware attacks has increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, targeting healthcare services, educational organisations, governmental institutions and more. In 2021 this upwards trend has not slowed down, making ransomware one of the most prominent threats in the cyber landscape.

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The majority of cyberattacks we hear about nowadays are carried out by bad actors for the purpose of financial gain. There is however, a small number of hackers who put to use their skills not for financial gain, but to promote a political, social or religious agenda. This is known as hacktivism, from the combination of the word ‘hacking’ and ‘activism’, and it involves the use of computer-based techniques to exercise civil disobedience or disruption, in an effort to bring attention to a political or social issue, and encourage change.

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Is RockYou2021 really a password leak?

Reports on a new password leak made headlines at the beginning of June 2021 and led to widespread panic over the security implications of the leak, dubbed the largest in history with 8.4 billion compromised passwords.

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Ransomware attack results in the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline

The cyberattack that at the beginning of May targeted and caused the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the US, was a powerful example of the threat posed by the rising number of ransomware attacks, and the detrimental effect they can have not only on businesses but on national critical infrastructure.

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The correlation between the global spread of COVID-19, cyberattacks and the amount of compromised data leaked on the dark web

The COVID-19 pandemic have forced businesses, governmental organisations, and private individuals to quickly shift the way they conduct daily activities. While technology has greatly aided during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing people to stay connected, conduct business and access entertainment online, it has also brought a set of new challenges, in addition to exacerbating pre-existing ones. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of cyberattacks worldwide has increased significantly, leading experts to define the current situation as a ‘cyberpandemic’.

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