F‑Alert report: cyber threats in March 2024

F‑Alert March: discover the latest consumer threats today

In the latest edition of F‑Alert we examine how criminals have taken advantage of recent bank failures, we reveal how scammers combine romance and financial scams, and we look at how criminals targeting gamers may threaten parents who share their work devices with their kids.

March saw cyber criminals do what they do best — seize upon every opportunity to steal money. The global anxiety caused by the failures of two high-profile American banks offered a chance for scammers to swing into action. Meanwhile, the massive popularity of gaming has made it a constant target for attackers, who some­times luck out and use kids playing on their parents’ work devices as a steppingstone into corporate networks. And along with the month’s biggest breaches, we look at a new threat to the integrity of the internet from the government and one of the nastiest scams online.

Bank failures fuel rising threats

The failure of two prominent mid-sized American banks in early March has unleashed new worries about the global banking system. Online crooks have quickly used the crisis to launch new scams, as consumers have sought alternative ways to secure their assets, including cryptocurrencies. F‑Secure Researcher Yik Han reports that in the immediate aftermath of these bank collapses F‑Secure detected a big spike of crypto-related threats.

Gamers targeted by cyber criminals

Gaming has become a massive industry and, thus, a bountiful target for cyber criminals. A new report finds that attackers occasionally luck out and use children on their parents’ work devices as way into employers’ networks. Joel Latto, Threat Advisor at F‑Secure, believes gaming provides parents an excellent opportunity to talk about security hygiene and the dangers of seeking free stuff on the internet.

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‘Chat control’ risks online safety

Politicians in the United Kingdom and European Union have proposed legislation that may have the best of intentions. But so-called “chat control” would have serious consequences for the integrity of the internet. Giving law enforcement the ability to freely scan devices for content related to child abuse would be a material threat to the encryption standards our online economy is built upon, said Tom Gaffney, Principal Consultant at F‑Secure.

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‘Pig butchering’ fuels fraud

The new Internet Crime Report from the FBI finds that people report more losses from investment fraud than any other online crime. And “pig butchering” seems to be a big reason why. This hybrid romance/financial scam preys upon lonely victims who end up manipulated into emptying their bank accounts to fund a cryptocurrency scheme. Laura Kankaala, F‑Secure’s Threat Intelligence Lead, described how the scams works and what potential victims can do to avoid being conned.

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Get all these stories and high­lights in March’s F‑Alert

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Our monthly F‑Alert threat reports guide you through the biggest cyber security stories as they develop around the world. Delivering what matters most when it comes to protecting your data and devices.

Every month F‑Alert tells you what’s happening in cyber security. Even more importantly, we tell you why it’s happening. And our experts provide simple advice to help secure your digital moments.