[#474] Date: 15th Sept 2022
This morning, I woke up to the information that one of my friends got her bank account ZEROED... as in practically cleared out of cash in mere minutes. We read this often lately but we didn't expect it to happen to someone that we know personally. That's just too close for comfort, honestly. Some of you might even wonder how this could happen. Not sure how rampant this is in other countries but many Malaysians have already fell victim to such hacks. It's not even a scam ~ it's an outright hack.
In the past, scammers preyed on the element of greed in human beings. With modern mobile technology, these scammers are now hackers, trying to cater to the needs of people. They have upgraded their skills to create legitimate-looking mobile apps, that when downloaded, have the ability to read our text messages and even delete the messages after reading and using the TAC for 2FA.
How is this possible? So far, I am not sure if any Apple iPhone users have fallen victim but this is mostly Android phone users, whose phones can download unauthorized apps, or what we call APK. We have always been told not to simply download and install mobile apps except those that are offered at the official stores. Even so, there are some malicious apps that have made their way to the store and seem legit, even though they are not. But if we don't simply download apps that do not come with many positive reviews, the risk is way lower than downloading APK apps.
The current popular hacking apps are those that offer part-time cleaners or those that offer part-time elderly care. These services are what modern households need these days because we don't have time for taking care of our ailing parents or for cleaning our house. But we have money and others can be paid to do the dirty tasks. This makes it easy for us to fall prey to hacking because we need the services quite desperately. We know not to simply download apps from unauthorized websites but they look so legitimate. Moreover, the contact person tells potential victims that this is the only way to book a slot and make the payment... and so, they go through the motion and simply check the boxes that allow these apps to have access to the phone's camera, text messaging, voice calls, contacts and what not.
These victims are not dumb people, but with just a split lapse in judgment, they lose all their savings. Unfortunately, the banks, police, and authorities are not doing much... at least not to the point where the victims can recover their losses. They have been told, that the fault lies on themselves because they were the ones who granted these apps permission to access sensitive information.
Some of these victims didn't even notice the text messages because they got read and deleted by the app(s) first before the phone owner realized the incoming messages. Scary, right? Imagine, from having thousands in the bank to ZERO in mere minutes... even when transaction limits have been set, 2FA has been activated. Victims of hacks or not, all of us who have savings in banks are very worried because it is totally unsafe to keep money in the bank! How much more ridiculous can the situation get?
*Lead photo by Expect Best.