Smart-ID Security Guide

Online scams, viruses and safety

Every day, there are more stories about online scams and people being cheated out of their life savings. It’s a sad truth that scammers are getting cleverer and more brazen by the day and being able to spot the fake messages and websites amongst the genuine ones is getting more and more difficult.
Be vigilant and take the safety of your digital- and smart-life seriously!


Phishing, aka ‘fishing for data’ scams

Phishing scams are among the most common schemes. Criminals pretend to represent a respectable service provider and try to lure you into sharing your personal details.

What is this all about?

The goal is to get you in a situation where you’d reveal personal information without even noticing – then criminals will use the data to gain access to your bank accounts, credit cards, authorisation devices etc.

It’s all about identity theft: once they have a way in, they’ll use it to take SMS-loans in your name, empty your bank accounts, sell your property behind your back or use other means of creating financial damage that you’ll be responsible for.

It is usually international, making it very difficult to discover and even more difficult to find justice should you fall a victim to it.

Criminals can lure personal information from you through positive incentives (rewards, prize games, massive discounts, special benefits, time-sensitive opportunities etc) as well as using threats or warnings (“Check that your personal information is not a part of the hacked database”, “Your bank account is compromised”, “If you want to keep using XYZ service, you need to…” etc.).

You should also know that scams like this can take place on websites, social media, through e-mails, SMS’s, phone calls etc.

Personal scams

We’ve all heard stories about people who fall madly in love over the internet only to discover their love interest is a blackmailer; or about ‘investments’ that leave the investors bankrupt. Don’t assume it could never happen to you: successful scammers are superb manipulators and victim grooming is a long and complicated process.

Today’s scammers do not hide behind simple “Nigerian princes”: they belong to organized international syndicates treating their victims like long term investments, and they are willing to put in all the time and effort it takes.

Love scams happen when you meet someone online who is currently located in a place that would be difficult, if not completely impossible, for you to perform checks. Common claims are that they are soldiers on a mission; doctors working abroad; special ops agents whose work is classified; Christians doing missionary work or volunteers involved with an international charity project etc. It may take a week or two before any money gets mentioned and, in most cases, they orchestrate the situations so that you’d offer the money without them having to ask for it directly. Most popular ‘financial difficulties’ are related to accidents and need for protective gear/medication; unexpected illness or death of a family member; travel expenses; paying for ‘satellite connection’ (or mobile data) required to keep communicating with you; getting hurt or wounded; coming to visit you etc.

The amount needed will not be alarmingly large but will grow over time – and may turn into blackmailing if you’ve shared access to your web camera (and they’ve recorded you in secret), intimate photos or secrets.

Help and collection scams are scams where emotional blackmail is used to cheat you into donating money. Guilt combined with a chance to be a hero is a powerful motivation! Scammers give you a sad story dotted with examples of ‘optimism and true strength’, pretend to be so ‘ashamed’ or ‘pained’ to be in a situation where they need outside help that you’d feel uncomfortable grilling them for details or sharing any doubts you might have. Don’t trust any collections where money will go directly to the account of a private person if that person has not provided (without prompting!) adequate ways for background checks.

  • Ask for a video call.
    Almost every smart device has a camera and if theirs doesn’t, they have a friend, colleague or a family member who’d happily lend them a phone for a few minutes. Don’t believe any excuses about bad coverage either: it’s something that is easy to overcome within a few days if the will is there.
  • Search for additional information.
    Google the name of the person, their e-mail address and other details they’ve shared with you. Check their social media profiles, organisations/companies they claim to be involved with and if their photos have been used for profiles set up under different names.
  • Don’t forget that true undercover agents/soldiers are not looking for new acquaintances while on a mission, never share ANY personal details online and that ALL of their communication is under scrutiny. As soon as your new friend mentions something “top secret” that “only you could be trusted with”, get your guard up!
  • Do not transfer money to anyone you haven’t met in real life!
    Soldiers/missionaries/volunteers abroad do not need to pay for their internet out of their own pockets; their travel information is handled by their consular services, army or organisation and things like unexpected tragedies within a family usually mean that other family members will step up, not strangers they’ve just met online. Be suspicious as soon as someone sounds like they need your financial help!

Malware and viruses

Viruses are a threat to all smart devices, not just computers! Most viruses are shared through e-mail (attachments or links in e-mails); suspicious websites (especially those offering download options for other software); file sharing programs and sites (films, music, subtitles, media galleries etc).

Viruses have different purposes: the most common being spamming, stealing your personal data for identity theft and collection information for blackmail.

Be careful when downloading!

Do not download software outside official websites and delete all files that have been downloaded into your computer without your knowledge or intent.Know that Smart-ID and mobile applications of banks (including any updates) should always be downloaded only through Google Play, AppStore or Huawei App Gallery.

If you’re not sure, consult IT-savvy friends or colleagues before you download anything.

  • Use virus protection on all of your smart devices
  • Do not use websites that your browser warns you about
  • Do not open suspicious e-mails or attachments you’re not sure of
  • Do not download software through unofficial channels
  • Avoid using pirated/unlicenced media, including music and movies
  • Have a specialist check your device once or twice a year

Spyware, like the name suggests, is designed to spy on you to gain access to the contents of your device and everything you do with it (user names, passwords, banking information, social media profiles, cloud services etc).

How to act if you suspect you may be infected:

  • Contact an IT-specialist immediately and ask your device to be checked
  • Listen to the tips and suggestions of the specialists and, if necessary, turn to police to report identity theft, or to your bank to change your details.
  • Know that your device may need to be cleaned – and you may be required to purchase additional anti-virus software. Don’t hesitate to turn to several different service providers for help!

Ransomware is a type of malware that has become increasingly popular: it locks the contents of your device (‘kidnaps’ it) and tells you that you need to pay a ‘ransom’ to regain access to your device and it’s contents. Ransomware demands often threaten to delete the contents of your device permanently if you do not act within a very short timeline. If you do not pay, they may threaten to make the contents of your device public, harass people in your contact list or take over control of your bank accounts.

How to act:

  • You should immediately turn to an IT-specialist, the IT department of your company or an IT-service provider.
  • Disconnect the affected device from the internet and your common/personal/shared network.
  • Contact police and follow their instructions.
  • Copy the contents of your other smart devices onto a USB-stick, external hard drive etc. and if possible, make a duplicate of the hard disc that is affected (to see if specialists can help you regain some of the contents later).

More about security and safety:

Smart-ID: safe and secure solution

Smart-ID meets the European Union’s highest security standards and digital signatures given with Smart-ID have the same legal standing as handwritten ones.


PIN-codes keep your personal data protected: as long as you do not make your PIN-codes accessible, they can’t be used against you.