Cyber blackmail scams on the rise, warns CyberSecurity Malaysia
By Digital News Asia April 2, 2015
- Scam artistes connect via social media, portraying themselves as beautiful women
- Via video chat, convince victims to commit acts that are recorded for blackmail
Such scams begin with perpetrators connecting to potential victims through social media platforms, mainly Facebook and Tagged, portraying themselves as beautiful, sexy women purportedly from the Philippines, Japan or South Korea.
These scam artistes will then ask the victim to video chat with using Skype, but actually use pre-recorded webcam videos to fake their real identity, to look like they are genuinely engaged in conversation online with victim, CSM said in a statement.
While in conversation online, perpetrators will record unpleasant videos of the victim without the victim’s knowledge, and use it to extort the victim further by threatening to make it public at YouTube, social networking sites, or directly to the victim’s family or friends.
“We had been observing an increase number of cyber blackmail scam incidents which involve blackmailing and extorting victims for money in this first quarter of 2015,” said CSM chief executive officer Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab.
“Between January till March this year, 25 incidents of cyber blackmail scam had been reported to the Cyber999 help centre, compared with 21 incidents in the first quarter of 2014 – and more users may fall victim if proper mitigation is not in practice,” he added.
A total of 121 incidents on cyber blackmail scam were reported to Cyber999 help centre in 2014, said CSM, the technical cybersecurity and specialist centre under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“Malaysians Internet users continue to be victims, being threatened to have their unpleasant videos or compromising videos released on YouTube and social networking sites if they do not pay the amount requested by perpetrator, within a certain period of time,” said Dr Amirudin (pic).
Based on Cyber999 statistics, victims are mainly teenaged to middle-aged men.
“We suspect the perpetrators are male foreigners operating the scam from various locations. The scam uses social networking sites like Facebook, Tagged and online video chat application such as Skype to carry out their activities,” Dr Amirudin said.
- Adhere to best practices and ethics when you are online on social networking sites, or chatting online;
- Be very precautious with whom you befriend, do not fulfil all unnecessary requests from other users while you are online;
- Be alert and suspicious of unusual activities on the Net and immediately report it to the relevant authorities;
- As a preventive measure, configure your Skype to restrict communications to your contact list only by doing the following: Go to > Tools > Options > Privacy > Only Allow IMs, Calls etc from People on my Contact List > SAVE;
- Always make sure your software and systems are up to date, and that you are using up-to-date security software;
- Be aware that anything you do on the Internet, including video and voice calls, can be recorded and manipulated for malicious purposes; and
- Never use your webcam to video call someone you do not know.
For further enquiries, you can CSM through the following channels:
- Phone 1-300-88-2999 (monitored during business hours)
- Fax +603 89453442
- Mobile: +6019 2665850 (24x7 call incident reporting)
- SMS : CYBER999 REPORT EMAIL COMPLAINT to 15888
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mycert
For more information on such scams, go here.
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