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What AnyDesk Does to Prevent Remote Desktop Scams

Laptop with security symbols

According to the Statista Research Department, there were around 18 million victims of cybercrime in Germany in 2020 alone. This includes phishing attacks, for which scammers use false information to trick their victims into installing malware or giving out confidential information. Anyone can fall victim to this form of social engineering if they are not adequately informed or protected, as the scams are becoming more sophisticated.

Some scammers use Remote Desktop Software for their attacks. They trick individuals into granting remote access to their device, where they can easily obtain confidential information. Fraudsters also use AnyDesk for scams, along with all other remote desktop tools on the market.

Lena Lohmaier is the Brand Manager for AnyDesk and helps fight online fraud and scams with AnyDesk. I asked her how AnyDesk approaches this issue and what each individual person can do to protect themselves.

AnyDesk: Hi Lena! Introduce yourself briefly to our readers: Who are you and what do you do at AnyDesk?

Lena: I am the Brand Manager at AnyDesk. That means I take care of our appearance as a brand. There are many different fields, corporate design, for example. Or working with influencers and sponsorships. Social media is also part of it. As you can see, there are many interfaces with other departments in my position. Overall, I take care of how we present ourselves and appear to the outside world, for example at fairs.

AnyDesk: How come you’re also responsible for the topic of online fraud?

Lena: Abuse of our software is a search field of our so-called “Brand Monitoring”. I want to find out what is being reported about us on social media and the web. What topics are mentioned in connection with AnyDesk? This is how I know that we are also mentioned in connection with online fraud.

Our product is being misused; we are not the fraudsters ourselves. That’s why we want to do something about it on a technical level, but also on all kinds of other levels. Many of my colleagues are dealing with this issue. This is the area I’m concerned with: In what context is the topic AnyDesk mentioned? Do we need to communicate some things more clearly? Some people may not be aware of all the things we are doing about it.

AnyDesk: It’s important to address the issue openly and take action against it. How exactly do fraudsters use AnyDesk?

Lena: We monitor the issue closely, there are always new scams and there are many different tools and applications that are used for attacks. Whenever a tool puts a security bar in place, fraudsters unfortunately find a new way. We always have to stay up to date. We are constantly evaluating how scams are carried out at the moment and how we can act against them. We also work closely with authorities investigating and provide them with the necessary information.

AnyDesk: What are online scammers targeting?

Lena: It’s mostly about money. But the ways in which a scammer can get the money are very different. Whether it’s getting people to access their bank account and make a wire transfer or simply asking for critical personal information. Scammers can be very persuasive. We can stop a fraud on a technical level, but there are many types of scams that software cannot easily detect. It affects just about every technology.

AnyDesk: What are we doing at AnyDesk to combat online scams?

Lena: One pillar of our action plan is education. Whether on the blog, on social media, in the press, or at events. When you download AnyDesk, there’s a notice on the download page. Our website describes what types of scams there are and gives tips on how best to deal with remote desktop software. For example, you should not simply pass on your ID. We are constantly looking for new ways to educate.

If someone has been a victim of online fraud with AnyDesk, they can report the abuse to us via a form. Our legal department will then take care of it. The scammer will be blocked immediately. As far as data protection allows it, we filter out suspicious session characteristics.

As you can see, it’s a cross-departmental issue. Product management, marketing, development, data analysts – everyone is involved. We also cooperate with financial service providers and work out ways to prevent fraud together.

But it’s also important to us that AnyDesk remains user-friendly. Scammers take advantage of our intuitive usability. But it’s also not an option for us to restrict features and thereby compromise the user experience.

AnyDesk: What can individuals do about the scammer issue?

Lena: Let’s start in general: In case of suspicious calls, you should ask for the phone number and then look it up on the Internet. You can also call the support of the company that supposedly wants to contact you. This way, you will quickly find out if you are dealing with someone trustworthy.

Your AnyDesk ID should be guarded like a treasure. Just as you do not give your password to anyone, you should not simply pass on your ID. You should only accept an invitation to a meeting if you know exactly who is behind it and you trust that person. In the work environment, you can always call the IT department and ask if the request is legitimate. If you are unsure, you should never accept the session.

AnyDesk also has many security features that allow you to limit access. For example, Session Permission Profiles. They are used to restrict access and only allow certain actions.

AnyDesk: What’s your take on the future? Is it even possible to get a grip on the problem of online scams?

Lena: We have highly qualified colleagues with lots of ideas and are testing some of them at the moment. It is important for us to combine product experience and abuse prevention. Scammers are the smallest part of AnyDesk users. Most of them, both personal and business users, use AnyDesk every day for good and they should not be restricted.

We are working on even more targeted monitoring and more insights into how our software is being used, including abuse. The more we know, the more actively we can fight scammers. If someone has been scammed, we offer to report the scam to us via our form. This way we have more information to fight scammers, to prosecute them and to make sure that the same does not happen to other users.

Scammers keep finding new ways. Every individual can do something against it. Take the opportunity and help another person not to be scammed with AnyDesk by reporting abuse via our form or by forwarding our webpage on abuse prevention. There, you will find all helpful tips summarized. Let’s make the Internet a safer place together.

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