Almost 1 in 2 requests that reached the Helpline 1480 for the 2nd quarter of 2022 (from April 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022) relate to cybercrime, according to an announcement by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute (PIK).
It is noted that the PIK is the coordinator of the Cyprus Safe Internet Center – CYberSafety (https://www.cybersafety.cy) and the Helpline 1480, which aims to provide children, young people, parents, teachers, and as a whole, consulting and support services, regarding the safe, responsible and ethical use of the Internet and digital technologies.
It is added that from April 1, 2022 to April 30, 2022, a total of 1480 people contacted Helpline 597. The 173 calls (29%), from the total number of calls, were not related to the services provided by the Helpline 1480 and related to information, among other things, about the pandemic, benefits and aids of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance etc. .etc
Regarding the 424 incidents, which related to the services of the Helpline 1480, 37,7% (160 people), were boys/men and 62,3% (264 people), were girls/women. Regarding the profile of the callers, the majority of people who called for help and support were adults at a rate of 96,5% (409 people). Only 15 people, out of a total of 424 callers, i.e. 3,5%, were minors (up to 18 years old), who used the 1480 Helpline to report personal difficulties on the Internet.
Regarding the reasons for contacting the Line, most requests were related to cybercrime incidents (47,2%), i.e. dealing with breach of privacy (hacking), financial fraud, etc., the announcement states. The particularly increased number of related reports, compared to any other time, concerned the interception of passwords and illegal access to Social Media. Callers reported receiving messages from profiles belonging to their group of online friends, urging them to either invest in various cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) by clicking on links to websites where they would have to fill out social network account login details, or participate in supposed contests, with malicious content that allowed them to gain access to their accounts.
In the relevant cases, the operators of the Line guided the recovery process of the accounts, through relevant identification and informed the callers that it is necessary to be careful with people who contact them or with messages (email, SMS, etc.) received from social network services, public or non-public bodies and banking companies requesting access or identification/confirmation of their details (eg password, social security number, credit card number). The importance of not proceeding with any action and communicating directly with the individuals or relevant companies and services, investigating whether the relevant requests are true, was emphasized.
Additionally, it was noted that messages demanding money, offering gifts, etc., should not be trusted. and strengthen their security settings by enabling, among other things, two-factor authentication.
In addition, a large number of calls to the Helpline – Helpline 1480, related to issues falling under the category of digital literacy/education (13,0%), which seems to demonstrate the need to inform the public about digital literacy skills and the importance of support for the safe and responsible use of digital technology and the internet, the announcement notes.
At the same time, a significant number of calls concerned how to protect their personal data (12,3%) as well as incidents of cyberbullying (11,8%), demonstrating that cyberbullying remains a perennial problem, for which we should further and more intensive efforts should be made to inform and raise awareness.
It is emphasized that, also during the specific period, a number of incidents of sexual harassment (3,8%) were identified (sending or sharing unwanted related content and comments, impersonating people with the intention of damaging their reputation, through sexual harassment, etc.) and incidents which involved sexual extortion (sextortion) (2,8%).
The 1480 Helpline, aiming at the continuous and quality provision of advice and support, in matters related to the safe, responsible and ethical use of the Internet, to children, adolescents and their families, continues to provide its services , with the basic principle of ensuring that its services are consistent with National Law and are interwoven with the aspect of awareness and prompt service, it is pointed out.
All citizens can contact the Helpline 1480 by calling, free of charge, the number 1480 (opening hours: Monday – Friday, 9.00 – 13.00 & 15 – 00, and Saturday 18 – 00) or by sending an email to 10 email@example.com as well as via an online form (https://www.cybersafety.cy/helpline-report) or via chat (https://www .cybersafety.cy/helpline-chat).