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Hungarian Ministry of Justice Joins CyberShield Programme

Dylan Power

Tuesday, June 25th 2024

VSE Members News

The digital age has made life more convenient, allowing us to conduct transactions worth millions from anywhere. However, this convenience comes with a downside: online fraud and scams are increasing exponentially. By the time victims realise what has happened, large sums of money are often missing from their accounts. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, more people need assistance. Hungary’s Victim Support Centres offer help, but it’s crucial to take steps to avoid being scammed in the first place.

The victim support system – under the professional guidance of the Ministry of Justice – and in particular the Victim Support Centres run by the Ministry, has recently experienced a dramatic increase in the number of crimes committed using information systems. This phenomenon has posed a new challenge to our victim support professionals.

Our victim support services aim to provide personalized support and assistance to victims, including those affected by online crime and cyberbullying. We provide victims with legal advice, access to mental health services and help them to take safety measures and develop strategies to prevent future attacks. If necessary, we provide financial assistance to help with any financial crisis caused by the crime.

Online fraud perpetrators often deplete their victims’ financial reserves, sometimes erasing a lifetime of savings. This burden is heavy, as victims often unknowingly facilitate the crime by installing spyware or providing banking information. While victims require practical and financial support, they also need emotional support to help them deal with feelings of shame and self-blame.

In response, the Hungarian Ministry of Justice joined the CyberShield ( program, launched in autumn 2022 by the Hungarian National Bank, the Hungarian Banking Association, the police, and other cybersecurity and telecommunications organizations. This program provides a platform for sharing experiences, knowledge, and coordinating communication. The Ministry of Justice and other state organizations contribute to the communication and educational campaign. This collaboration enables the monitoring of fraud patterns and cybersecurity risks in financial transactions. By understanding international trends and integrating these findings into professional practices, the initiative aims to enhance financial security and raise customer awareness.

To reduce the risk of fraud, the CyberShield program aims to foster a healthy skepticism and vigilance towards online shopping, social media use, and banking. There are some key rules that, if followed, can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim. These rules include:

  • Only initiate transfers from your bank’s official website; never share bank card details otherwise.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious emails (phishing) as they might try to steal your personal information.
  • Similarly, do not click on links from unrecognized addresses asking you to update your personal information.
  • Do not engage with poorly written emails, and/or emails that appear to have been machine translated. Spelling and grammar errors are often indicators of phishing attempts.
  • Be particularly cautious of emails asking for your personal details so that they can transfer an inheritance or a prize.
  • Ignore random requests for contributions and donations to charities and good causes, especially if they ask for money to be sent to Bitcoin wallets.

If something bad happens, the Victim Support Centres and the Victim Support Hotline (06 80 225 225) are ready to help.

By joining the CyberShield program, the Ministry of Justice helps to address cybercrime by sharing victim reports and collecting data on methods employed by criminals. The Ministry is also working with other members of the CyberShield program to ensure that the criminal law adapts to the ever-growing challenges of online crime.

Within the CyberShield program, psychologists from our Victim Support Centres have contributed to recommendations for banks on how to communicate effectively with victims of online fraud in order to prevent secondary victimisation.

The new challenges presented by our fast-paced world require victim support services to react promptly and assume new roles. The Ministry of Justice and its professionals are taking every possible step to ensure that victims in distress are not left without help.

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