Story image

Singapore WhatsApp users urged to watch out for phishing scams

20 Apr 18

The Singapore Police Force is warning citizens who use the popular messaging app WhatsApp to be vigilant, after reports of scammers taking over compromised accounts.

According to an advisory, the scam is a variant of a scam widely reported overseas. Scammers gain access to a compromised account and then send messages to the account’s contacts.

The messages request WhatsApp account verification codes, which are usually sent by SMS to a recipient.

Those victims who gave the scammers access to the verification codes would then be locked out of their own account and lose access.

Scammers use the compromised accounts and their contacts to trick people into buying gift cards, and then sending over the password for those cards. The scammers then sell the cards online.

ESET APAC technical sales manager Sim Beng Hai says WhatsApp is a popular application in Singapore, associated with friends, family, and colleagues.

Scammers are now abusing this trust to gain access to personal details, conversations, photographs, and contacts.

Those affected by the scam can call the Singapore Police Hotline or contact the National Crime Prevention Council’s anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688.

Sim Beng Hai offers some tips to avoid phishing attacks via text or WhatsApp:

- If you have the slightest doubt about the authenticity of any text, always check.  If you receive a suspicious text from a friend, message that friend on a separate messaging tool, or call them, to check. Do not reply to that text, as this informs the scammer that you’re a “warm lead”.

- Note shortened URLs – Scammers often mask ‘fake’ sites using URL shortening services like Bitly or TinyURL. Users should be wary of such shortened links as common sites like Apple, Spotify or Netflix typically do not shorten their links as it raises user suspicion.  

- Make a habit of creating strong passwords to all social media applications and other applications on your mobile. Simple passwords can be easily cracked by seasoned hackers, and if you repeat them across applications, hacking just one application gives them access to all.  Better yet, use a reliable password manager which can set and remember defyingly long and complex passwords for you

- Enable multifactor (or two-factor) authentication for all services that provide it as an option and consider not using important services that do not offer this critical security option. Users can enable two-step verification for WhatsApp under Account > Two-step verification. This feature will require a PIN when registering your phone number with WhatsApp again.

Cisco expands security capabilities of SD­-WAN portfolio
Until now, SD-­WAN solutions have forced IT to choose between application experience or security.
AlgoSec delivers native security management for Azure Firewall
AlgoSec’s new solution will allow a central management capability for Azure Firewall, Microsoft's new cloud-native firewall-as-a-service.
How to configure your firewall for maximum effectiveness
ManageEngine offers some firewall best practices that can help security admins handle the conundrum of speed vs security.
Exclusive: Why botnets will swarm IoT devices
“What if these nodes were able to make autonomous decisions with minimal supervision, use their collective intelligence to solve problems?”
Why you should leverage a next-gen firewall platform
Through full lifecycle-based threat detection and prevention, organisations are able to manage the entire threat lifecycle without adding additional solutions.
The quid pro quo in the IoT age
Consumer consciousness around data privacy, security and stewardship has increased tenfold in recent years, forcing businesses to make customer privacy a business imperative.
ForeScout acquires OT security company SecurityMatters for US$113mil
Recent cyberattacks, such as WannaCry, NotPetya and Triton, demonstrated how vulnerable OT networks can result in significant business disruption and financial loss.
Exclusive: Fileless malware driving uptake of behavioural analytics
Fileless malware often finds its way into organisations via web browsers (or in combination with other vectors such as infected USB drives).