It’s Cyber Security Month again in Japan. This is the time of year when we’re all prompted to ask ourselves: “Am I cyber secure?” It’s an issue that the public-private think tank NISC takes so seriously that they made this month 1.58 months long, from Feb 1 to March 18.
A number of IT firms have been doing things in honor of promoting cyber security, but major telecom company NTT Docomo had the novel idea of holding an email spam exhibition called #JunkEmailExhibition (#迷惑メール展).
The hashtag might have tipped you off that this isn’t so much a typical exhibition like you might find in a gallery. Rather, it’s a project encouraging everyone to post email spam they’ve received along with the hashtag/name of the exhibition. As phishing attempts grow more sophisticated with even more realistic fake websites and messages, the aim of this exhibit is to shine a light on these practices so more people will be able to identify them more readily and take the necessary precautions.
It’s not just about participating in a public service either. NTT Docomo will also be giving away 1,000 yen in d-point digital currency. All you have to do is send an email to the address below with your full name, credit card number, and PIN.
In order to win the points, you just need to follow the official #JunkEmailExhibition Twitter account and then retweet the following tweet. Of the people who do that, 500 will be chosen to win a prize.
Even without entering the contest, that Twitter account will be the one to follow for the exhibition as it will do the lion’s share of posting classic email spam — legal, illegal, and everything in between. Mails, DMS, and SMS messages will be displayed, alerting people to winning contests they’ve never entered or claiming packages that were never ordered. And along with each example, there will be a full analysis of it, including the specific psychology it preys upon and the potential countermeasures to take.
For example, sometimes people who are normally savvy at spotting fraudulent emails can become so busy that a well-crafted fake message from Amazon can slide under the radar during a lapse of proper attention. To prevent that, the simple act of keeping bookmarks to the real versions of sensitive websites for services like shopping can go a long way to keeping people safe whenever a real or fake problem arises.
Most people probably don’t need this kind of education, but we all seem to have that one family member who looks like they could get sucked into a scheme with a Nigerian prince or Yusaku Maezawaa. So, it's for them that we should all work together and share safe online habits.
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