Be wary of social media hacks that can cause victims to suffer huge losses

20 Aug 2022 11:19am
MCMC also advised users to always be vigilant and not to share their personal details with anyone. - 123RF Photo
MCMC also advised users to always be vigilant and not to share their personal details with anyone. - 123RF Photo
KUALA LUMPUR - Cybersecurity threats cannot be taken lightly as they can result in huge losses to their victims.

In most instances, victims are chosen at random as cybercrimes target all layers of society, with professionals, influential people and even leaders having fallen prey to such scams.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had the unfortunate luck to have become a victim when his personal Telegram account was hacked by irresponsible parties.

The breach was announced by Ismail Sabri himself in a tweet and he subsequently lodged reports to the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

MCMC said that in most cases, the objective of criminals was to use the compromised accounts to impersonate the actual owner for various deceptive purposes, including to conduct financial fraud.

"The perpetrator will take advantage by using the ID to con anyone linked to these individuals and in this case, the country’s leaders,” MCMC told Bernama recently.

The National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) is a specific agency tasked with supervising all aspects of the country’s cybersecurity and is always prepared and will take necessary action to ensure that the country’s cybersecurity is at its best level to face any possible threat.

"All messaging apps and social media developed by platform providers come with security features that users can use to protect themselves.

"These include activating the two-factor authentication, or 2FA, for each account,” the MCMC said, adding that users must keep their OTPs private and not hand them over to avoid the risk of having their accounts taken over by irresponsible parties.
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The MCMC also advised users to always be vigilant and not to share their personal details with anyone.

"Besides activating the 2FA, users can also use complex and hard-to-guess passwords, and never click any suspicious URLs or links, including from those claiming to be representatives of any messaging platform or social media provider.

"You might be directed to a website that is similar to the platform and asked to provide your user name and password that you have or are using,” MCMC said.

Meanwhile, criminal analyst Kamal Affandi Hashim said the hack that befell the Prime Minister’s Telegram account was something that could happen to anyone and was not a threat to the country.

He said there were two factors that enabled the hack, firstly the device used was exposed to malware and the application platform was easily manipulated by irresponsible parties.

"We know in general that this platform is easily manipulated, and we can finally take over someone else’s account and this really does often happen and is reported widely,” Kamal Affandi told Bernama, adding that it would be hasty to draw conclusions that the national cybersecurity system was unsafe because the prime minister’s private social media account could be hacked.

"Some say that if the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister (Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah) can be targetted that means Malaysia isn’t equipped to take on such cyber attacks.

"I need to address these statements as CyberSecurity Malaysia and MCMC have proven themselves in carrying out their duties well in such issues,” he added. - BERNAMA