By Syamsiah Sahat & Rozlin Rusharmeen Rosmin
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- If you find yourself curiously drawn to that lucrative job offer, valuable grand prize or flirtatious message from that “handsome and rich” gentleman in your social media inbox, beware. Your desires are being “hacked”.
If you’ve been on social media for some time, you need to know by now that these are scams that thousands of social media users fall prey to every year.
Statistics from the Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) under Cyber Security Malaysia (CSM) revealed that since 2008, cyber fraud make up the highest number of incidents reported every year compared to other cybercrimes, indicating that the level of awareness of the issue among internet users in the country is still low.
A total of 3,127 cases of cyber fraud cases were reported to myCERT between January and July this year. Cyber fraud cases also topped the list last year, with 5,123 incidents reported, aside from 1,805 intrusions and 1,700 reports of malicious codes.
BE WARY OF OVERSHARING
Among cyber fraud cases often reported are that of phishing, job scams, Nigerian scams, lottery scams, love scams and online scams involving sales transactions.
CSM Chief Executive Officer Datuk Amirudin Abdul Wahab said that internet users can take several steps to avoid falling prey to these scams.
“Do not publish status updates stating how lonely you are, or that you are in search of a life partner or are desperate for one because these kinds of status updates can attract the attention of a cybercriminal.
“Believe it or not, cyber criminals are highly trained people - including in human psychology - and are versed in performing social engineering tactics on internet users. We should therefore curb the inclination to consistently share our thoughts and feelings on social media,” he told Bernama.
In the context of information security, social engineering refers to the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
Social media users are also advised to not be too quick to accept friend requests without verifying the authenticity of a user account.
IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Amirudin also warned social media users to not easily be persuaded by flattery or sob stories of friends they know only through social media.
“Don’t fall so easily for gifts. Always doubt and question statements that allude to high status or wealth,” he said, adding that if it was too good to be true, it usually was.
When the topic of conversation starts gravitating towards money, users need to be even more careful because the scammer is entering a phase where the main objective is to extract money from the victim as swiftly as possible.
Amirudin said that simply being extra cautious could save internet users from being conned out of hundreds of thousands of ringgit in losses every year.
Another scam often reported is that of fraudulent online transactions.
Users can protect themselves from becoming victims by verifying the authenticity of an online business as well as its reputation.
It is also prudent to ensure that the payment facilities provided contain security features that adhere to local or international standards.
In addition to that, users are encouraged to perform cash transactions whenever possible and to record all conversations as well as financial transactions and avoid transactions which require a deposit.
Users should also look for testimonials or feedback towards a seller or service in order to weed out sellers that promote suspicious offers, as well as to always save and double check the tracking numbers given by sellers.
REPORTING TO CYBER999
If you have fallen victim to a cybercrime, you can lodge a report to the Cyber999 Help Centre, a public service that provides emergency response to computer security related emergencies.
The report can be filed through a form online, e-mail, SMS, phone call, facsimile, through the Cyber999 mobile app or by walking into CSM.
The centre will make a report and conduct a technical investigation and analysis based on the incident reported.
All cybercrime-related incidents can be reported by calling 1-300-88-2999 or the 24-hour emergency helpline (019-2665850), faxing (03-80087000), SMSing CYBER999 REPORT to 15888 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The services are free.
Translated by Sakina Mohamed