Ways to Avoid Cyber Attacks

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The FINANCIAL — The computerization of Georgian society is resulting in an inevitable increase of cyber crime in the country. Specialists predict that there will be a growth of organized crime involved in cybercrime in the near future.


Experts say that social networks carry serious risk for informational security as they are a source of important information about potential victims.

“There were investigations of 41 cases involving computer crime in 2011. 28 people were persecuted and 14 cases were decreed guilty at court. The criminal cases were related to encroachment on private life, illegal penetration into computer systems, abuse of data and encroachment on data or systems,” Irakli Gvenetadze, Chairman at the Data Exchange Agency, told The FINANCIAL.

“The popularity of cybercrime is rising in the direction of electronic payment, which is less reliable. A special automated system incorporating dozens of banks has existed in Tbilisi since 1995. This system executes more than 70% of Georgian banking operations. This financial web has developed professional connections with different financial institutions and organizations (stocks, companies and commercial banks) in different regions and also with the National Bank of Georgia. This situation attracts criminals, some of whom have broken electronic security and illegally accessed computerised bank data. Some of the chains do not even have electronic security at all,” said Giorgi Datukishvili, Dean of Caucasus School of Technology (CST).

There are lots of ways of stealing a sum from another’s account. To do this a cyber criminal must know the credit card number of the victim and their personal information. Theft of this sort of information can be carried out in different ways. The most common ways are Phishing and Trojan attacks,” said Gvenetadze, DEA.

He added that the victims of cyber crimes are most often famous commercial companies which keep a database of their users’ information. Computer criminals steal this data and then sell it on the black market.

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Cyber criminals can mislead consumers and carry out attacks via social networks. The most widespread methods are by creating false profiles of acquaintances and being added as a friend so as to get additional info, as well as sharing false, urgent information to mislead users and infect them with viruses.

“For example, 40% of uploaded statuses on popular social network Facebook include links to internet addresses. Half of them are infectious, malicious addresses. There are special tutorials using very simple language available in which security engines and methods regarding different social networks are explained. It will be good if more customers become informed on security methods and use them to avoid cyber attacks. As a starter I recommend A Guide to Facebook Security, Linkedin Privacy Guide, How to Tweet Securely and so on,” Gvenetadze suggested.

Datukishvili, CST, said that the first case of cyber crime registered in the USSR is recorded as happening in Vilnius in 1979. This computer attack cost the country 78,584 RBL. This incident entered the international list of computer crimes. It became the initial point of further cyber offences in the country.

“I have never encountered a case of someone stealing money from a bank card. If a person enters another’s internet bank account illegally and withdraws a sum it is a crime. They are therefore charged under paragraph #284 of the criminal law code. Falsification of identification on a computer data system is a crime. In such an event the victim should immediately appeal to the prosecutor’s office for investigation,” explained Michael Gogadze, lawyer.

If internet users find out that they have become a victim of cyber crime they should first contact the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) at the Data Exchange Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.

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“A complete technical analysis will be held and the user will then be advised on further actions. If the incident is serious and during this attack criminals appropriated finances or sensitive, confidential information, then the relevant law enforcement departments will be notified. We will soon upload recommendations on how to act given different incidents on the webpage cert.gov.ge. It will incorporate changing users’ identification info, blocking, temporarily blocking bank accounts, and saving damaged computer resources for further analyses,” Gvenetadze said. 

“The Computer Crime Law has been promulgated in Georgia, but none of the government structures ensure citizens’ cyber security. Such an organization is under development. Its concept will correspond to European cyber crime parameters. There is no official statistic of individual cyber crime victims in the country,” said Datukishvili, CST.

“The majority of cyber attacks in Georgia are not for the purpose of carrying out financial machinations, they are mostly the result of malicious intent,” he added.

In general cyber lawbreakers falsify identification when they extort information falsely. Cyber criminals can falsify one’s email address or webpage which will be an exact copy of the original, and thereby create a falsified user of a social network and so on.

“The number one rule for protecting oneself from cyber crime is installing licensed internet protection programmes and performing regular updates. This significantly reduces the risk of unscrupulous use of one’s system. In addition utilize common sense in not responding to unknown or suspicious emails or pop-ups. Do not download programmes from unknown websites and do not spread sensitive information over the internet,” advised Gvenetadze, DEA.

“Up till this point the main targets of cyber attacks in Georgia have been organizations rather than individuals,” Gvenetadze said.



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