Experts call for tighter security feature and user responsibility

JOHOR BARU: Setting up a two-factor authentication (2FA) is essential, especially in protecting social media accounts from being taken over by scammers, says Datuk Ahmad Noordin Ismail.

The Malaysia Cyber Consumer Association chairman said the other proven method was to immediately block any unknown number or set the social media account to private.

ALSO READ: Job scam victims fell for social media ads

“This way, only those close to the users will know their updates and their posts, and only the users know who they share that information with.

“Communication apps such as Telegram can chat with others using the Find People Nearby feature, so if one receives any suspicious link from this, block them immediately,” he said yesterday.

He was commenting on the Communications and Digital Ministry’s actions on Telegram following several issues with cybersecurity such as the distribution of pornographic materials, drug sales, scams and false information.

Ahmad Noordin said app users were important in this issue and they should always be responsible for their actions when using social media.

ALSO READ: Comms ministry urges Telegram to meet with MCMC to avoid action

“It is good that the ministry is trying to prevent this matter from continuing; at the same time, we the users should also play our role in stopping it.

“For example, when receiving unverified information, we could always do our own research instead of immediately consuming the information and spreading it without caring whether it is true or not,” he added.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Centre for Cybersecurity researcher Tajul Azhar Mohd Tajul Ariffin said the government’s main concern with Telegram was the app’s ability to create a group that is visible to the public.

“For example, browsing and searching capabilities provided by Telegram are capable of finding a pornographic profile based on groups and content on the app.

“Furthermore, Telegram provides a feature that can measure the location, and it will make it easier for any user to get the porn-like material physically and virtually.

“As a result of the communications and the hidden privacy or anonymity Telegram provides, the two parties can communicate without even knowing the contact number,” he said.

ALSO READ: Govt to ensure action against Telegram won’t affect users too much, says Fahmi

Tajul Azhar, who is also a Cyber Security Academia Malaysia (CSAM) member, added that these features were not available on other social media platforms, which makes it very dangerous.

The other issue is a hacker taking over an account and asking for money from all the victim’s contacts, he said.

“Their modus operandi is usually asking for a screencap from the contact of the phone number that has been hacked.

“They could also start spamming the saved contacts with links to dubious investment scams, thus gaining more money, or other accounts that they could hack to repeat this process,” he added.

On June 7, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil was reported to have urged Telegram to meet with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) soon to avoid action over several cybersecurity issues.

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social media , scammers , cybersecurity


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