Minister of Communications and Digital Fahmi Fadzil said he will hold a meeting with platform provider Meta next week regarding the issue of scammers taking over users’ WhatsApp accounts.
Describing this as a worrying trend, Fahmi said he has personally received complaints from several individuals about their WhatsApp accounts being ‘stolen’ by irresponsible parties.
Following these complaints, CyberSecurity Malaysia issued a warning about the danger of criminals taking over WhatsApp accounts, he told reporters after the closing ceremony of the National Anti-Scam Roadshow 2023 in Putrajaya, which was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, here on Thursday.
“A meeting will be held with Meta, which handles WhatsApp, to understand whether the security aspects currently in place are insufficient and exploitable by criminals,” he said, noting that similar incidents of account takeover had occurred on the Telegram application.
Fahmi said that starting next year, CyberSecurity Malaysia will intensify the Anti-Scam Roadshow programme as part of efforts to raise public awareness about cyber security issues and preventive measures to avoid falling victim to online scams.
“When the government is able to curb one form of scam, these scammers are very slick and switch to different scams. Therefore, there needs to be an increasing understanding and awareness from time to time about new forms of scams,” he said.
Earlier, in his speech at the event, Fahmi said the Cyber999 Cyber Incident Response Centre, under the management of CyberSecurity Malaysia, recorded online fraud as being the highest number of reported cyber security incidents.
“Out of 5,480 incidents received from January to November 2023, a total of 3,447 incidents or 63% were related to online fraud,” he said.
Like other countries, he said Malaysia is not exempt from cyber threats and attacks.
“Despite various measures being taken, we still cannot guarantee 100% security or complete freedom from cyber threats and attacks,” he added.
Therefore, he said the Anti-Scam Tour programme held throughout the year is an initiative to provide information and education, fostering public awareness of financial crimes and scams.
The programme, led by CyberSecurity Malaysia, as the expert and technical agency for cybersecurity, which is also an agency under the Ministry of Communications and Digital (KKD), includes seminars, forums, and dialogues involving cyber security experts.
The organisation of the Anti-Scam Roadshow 2023 in Putrajaya marks the final edition of the tour series for this year after being held in several states including Selangor, Perlis, Sarawak, Sabah and Kelantan as well as Kuala Lumpur.