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Beware of the Orange Warning: Anyone Could Be a Victim of Messenger Phishing

기사승인 [350호] 2021.06.01  

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As the contactless society continues to evolve, so does digital crime and recently in particular - messenger phishing. Between January and September of 2020, the total number of messenger phishing cases rose by 14.6% and the total amount of damage by 25.3% compared to that of 2019, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

Messenger phishing is a form of fraud in which the attacker steals the victim’s messenger ID, logs in, and sends a message to a registered friend to ask for money. The classic strategy is to impersonate family members or acquaintances and urgently ask for money. Different methods include asking for the PIN of purchased gift vouchers, inducing the installation of a remotecontrol application, and even masquerading government agencies or companies. The main targets are the middle-aged who are not familiar with transferring accounts or purchasing online, and more importantly are easily deceived by the impersonation of their children. In contrast to the increasing messenger phishing cases, the number of voice phishing cases has decreased by 65%. Due to continuous prevention, the damage has been reduced, but phishing methods have diversified and evolved into other forms in addition to messenger phishing. Another explanation of the recent rise is as the result of continuous personal information leakage from social media users.

Of the total number of messenger phishing cases, approximately 85.6% were through KakaoTalk. As a preventive measure, KakaoTalk introduced “Talk Siren” in November 2020. If someone who is not registered as a friend sends a message through KakaoTalk, a pop-up window with precautions will be exposed at the top. At the same time, an orange warning profile image is shown to help users recognize the possibility of feint if the interlocutor is domestic. If overseas, the previously introduced “Globe Signal” is applied, showing the orange globe profile image. In order to prevent messenger phishing in everyday life, the FSS also stressed that individuals should take special caution, such as deleting unidentified e-mails, text messages, and embedded URL addresses, enhancing smartphone security settings, and changing passwords regularly.

When you feel you have fallen victim to messenger phishing, or when asked for money, make sure to check directly by phone that the person is actually who they claim to be, and do not remit money before confirmation. In the case of losing money due to messenger phishing, you should immediately report to the bank, the police, and the FSS and request a suspension of remittances and accounts.

Lee Oneul leetoday@hanyang.ac.kr

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