Screenshot from “Digital Risks in the New Normal” hosted by Stratbase ADR Institute. Stratbase ADR Institute.

With Filipinos becoming more dependent on their devices and the Internet to address their daily lives amid the pandemic, dangers linked to cybercrime continue to threaten us.

That said, it is imperative that we are aware of these threats and know how to handle them.

In a virtual town discussion titled “Digital Risks in the New Normal” by Stratbase ADR Institute, speakers discussed the digital dangers that netizens should be wary of amid the pandemic, and here are some of them.

Online scams

The most common of them all, online scams deprive a person of property, interest, estate, or right by providing misleading information or concealment of information.

An example of this is when an online seller tells buyers that the product being sold is authentic by providing misleading information.

Related article: DepEd warns public against ‘free wifi and gadgets’ raffle scams

Phishing attacks

Phishing is the dishonest method to obtain personal information from a target, such as usernames and passwords, by posing oneself as a trustworthy entity online.

Cybercriminals may steal credit card details from phishing victims through an email or website that pretends to be a digital asset of a real bank.

Related article: Facebook account recovery services being sold on Lazada

Fake accounts spreading fake news

This is nothing new and has been going on for as long as Facebook existed, or even way back. But what’s more dangerous is how perpetrators utilize these dummy accounts to circulate fake news. We all know that information is power, and having the ability to twist this information can sway people to think or do differently.

Fake preventive measures against COVID-9 fall under this category.

Related article: Creation of fake Facebook accounts linked to AFP, PNP a cybercrime — law expert

Cyber heists

Cyber heist, also known as an online heist or cyber theft, is a robbery that takes place on the Internet. This is among the most critical forms of online crime as it can affect a financial institution and many people.

A recent real-life example is an online theft that took place in the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) in which suspected Nigerians had stolen P167 million last June. Thankfully, they were apprehended in the end, forcing the concerned state-run bank to continuously beef up their security protocols.

Related article: “No stone will be left unturned,” says Finance Secretary on P167M cyber theft

Online piracy

One of the most overlooked kinds of digital threats, online piracy, or digital piracy is the downloading or distribution of copyrighted material and intellectual property without paying for it. Such digital materials include movie shows and series, published e-books, video games, licensed software or applications, and the like.

A recent survey revealed that most Filipinos admitted to engaging in online piracy, particularly watching their favorite TV shows somewhere else that is streamed for free, with some of them discontinuing their paid subscription to legal video streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Online piracy can be dangerous as platforms hosting pirated content may carry malware in them that can spread once it has been downloaded to a computer or mobile device.

Related article: Philippines among the highest online piracy in SEA, survey says

What must be done?

It is not surprising that digital risks are becoming more prevalent as the Philippines continues its digital transformation journey. We cannot entirely eradicate such risks in existence.

To help Filipinos becoming a victim of such threats, speakers advised empowerment by educating them on the present and emerging risks involved in engaging online.
The government and enforcers may have the capability to manage and control the threats, but netizens must be more discerning and knowledgeable on how to protect themselves to avoid becoming a victim of a cybercrime.

For more information about the virtual discussion “Digital Risks in the New Normal,” visit Stratbase ADR Institute’s official Facebook page or website.

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