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WhatsApp ‘hijacking’ raises cybersecurity issues

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Deepa Lekshmi realised one thing was amiss when she discovered herself logged out of her WhatsApp profile. Little did she realise that her account within the social networking platform was “hijacked” by fraudsters who managed to realize entry, although she had not parted with any delicate data. A now-viral voice clip by which the sufferer, a instructor of a authorities college at Vaipur, Pathanamthitta, recounts her plight has renewed the deal with the risks lurking inside social networking platforms which have emerged the popular medium for personal conversations and even exchanging confidential data amongst giant sections.

Ms. Deepa, a local of Kottayam, says she started to obtain messages looking for verification codes to entry her WhatsApp account over the past week of July. On July 29, she discovered herself unable to entry her profile. She was apparently “blocked” and couldn’t search a verification code by SMS as many usually would do whereas logging in.

Obscene picture

“The problem took a turn for the worse when a colleague alerted me that my WhatsApp display picture was replaced with an obscene image. Around half-an-hour later, I began to receive calls from Hindi-speaking men who accused me of sending them pornographic content from my mobile with some even threatening legal action,” she says. Left with no possibility, she determined to hunt police help. Her native police station referred her to the Kottayam Police Cyber Cell the place she lodged a criticism. An officer there suggested her to reinstall the applying and attempt to log in to her account. She managed to entry her profile, this time by voice verification for the reason that SMS possibility remained blocked.

Several victims

While there has not been any extra calls from strangers, Ms. Deepa has determined to change to a brand new cellphone quantity, fearing her current one might be susceptible to extra cyber threats. She mentioned that after she put the voice message, a number of individuals, together with faculty college students, referred to as her from Pathanamthitta and Wayanad saying that they too confronted related plights. While it was but to obtain any complaints, the Kerala Police Cyberdome have issued an advisory. All WhatsApp customers have been urged to allow the two-step verification that can be sure that any try to log into accounts would require a six-digit PIN.

Pointing out that the probabilities of accounts getting hacked have been distant except a particular malware has been put in, Manoj Abraham, ADGP, Headquarters and Cyberdome nodal officer, says mobile phone numbers might be hijacked by SIM swaps.

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