[Advisory] Incidents of WhatsApp Accounts Being Hacked On the Rise

More than a handful of users of popular mobile messaging app, Whatsapp, have reported incidences of being scammed or losing control and access to their accounts in Kuwait every month. According to a source from the Electronic and Cyber Crime Combatting Department (ECCCD), an affiliate agency of the Criminal Investigation Department, majority of the identified scammers who target WhatsApp users in Kuwait are based overseas.

The source, who, upon request of anonymity, shared that the ECCCD receives around 15 hacking cases every week. And while the source did not expound on the method used by hackers to hijack the users’ WhatsApp accounts, the source advised the public to keep posted and to be in the loop regarding information on cybercrimes posted by the department through its official social media account @ECCCD on Instagram and Twitter.

Hackers Target WhatsApp Accounts in Kuwait

In one of the more recent posts on the department’s Instagram account, information regarding the messaging app’s two-factor verification video has been shared, which should provide added protection to WhatsApp users.

The most prevalent way of hacking a WhatsApp account is when an unsuspecting target clicks and opens a link sent through a WhatsApp broadcast or message. Just last June 20, at least ten and up to a hundred users reported of being victimized by a scam shared on two WhatsApp broadcasts. One of which claimed to accept registration for an Al-Maktoum competition event while the other one claimed to provide employment from the Ministry of Education.

Other scams come in the form of receiving links through WhatsApp messages from unknown users, and even familiar contacts that have already been compromised. One of the more popular scams circulating on WhatsApp involve a company hosting a competition and enticing users to register using their personal information for a chance to win a car and other big prizes.

There are several ways through which a WhatsApp account can be stolen by hackers . One of which is through a “friend” or a personal contact asking the target to share a screenshot of his/her WhatsApp account’s QR code. Instead of readily sharing this sensitive information, it’s better to call the number and not sending any information that could compromise your personal security and privacy. Additionally, you can protect your personal data by checking if your WhatsApp account has been accessed through another device or if someone has been prying on your activities via WhatsApp Web on their hjiacked account.

Users can also go to helpful websites such as digitbin and makeuseof to get useful information such as what to do in case your WhatsApp account has been accessed through another device and seven tips on how to avoid malware, respectively.

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