Norton thwarted more than 1.95 lakh cyberattacks a day in India in January-March


Criminals carry out online rackets globally via deepfakes, romance scams and crypto frauds: NortonLifeLock

Criminals carry out online rackets globally via deepfakes, romance scams and crypto frauds: NortonLifeLock

Global cybersecurity services provider NortonLifeLock on Wednesday said it had blocked more than 18,013,055 threats – the equivalent of about 195,794 per day – during the first three months of 2022 in India.

Of these, 59,907 were phishing attempts and 31,062 were tech support scams, the company said, adding that cybercriminals were now deceiving victims using deepfakes and crypto scams to access financial or personal information.

Globally, the company blocked more than a billion attacks during the three months ended March, ie, more than 11 million attacks per day.

NortonLifeLock highlighted three different ways that criminals were perpetrating online scams globally – deepfakes, romance scams and crypto scams. Deepfakes, it said, were being utilised by bad actors to scam consumers and spread disinformation. The Norton Labs team has spotted deepfakes used to create fake social media profiles, fuel charity scams and other fraudulent ploys, and spread propaganda relating to the ongoing war in Ukraine, in addition to deepfakes used simply to make funny videos.

Norton Labs also tracked $29 million in bitcoin stolen in 2021 and expects this figure to continue to rise in 2022 as the crypto market’s value increases and scammers capitalise on world events, including the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine to steal donations from philanthropic crypto investors.

“New threats emerge as cybercriminals combine tactics. By presenting realistic disinformation via deepfakes in a phishing scam that collects payment in cryptocurrency, a consumer would have little to no recourse,” it said in a blog.

The third channel is the romance fraud that preys on vulnerable people looking for love and connection. Scammers adopt fake online identities to carefully select potential targets, often favouring recently widowed or divorced victims. Once scammers find a victim, they take the time to cultivate the illusion of a romantic relationship to gain the victim’s trust with the goal to manipulate and steal from them.

“Romance scammers are highly trained con artists; they know exactly what to say to make the victim feel important and loved. As a result, these scammers can be very believable and convincing to the untrained eye,” it added.

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