Phishing Attacks On The Rise
14 feb 2010 (Bernama)

By Mohd Noor Firdaus

KUALA LUMPUR, CyberSecurity Malaysia has advised Internet users to be wary of e-mails from "banks" asking them to update personal details, reactivate online banking accounts or participate in surveys offering cash rewards.

Those who received such e-mails are advised to delete them because by responding to these messages, they could become victims of phishing attacks, which are on the rise in the country.

CyberSecurity Chief Executive Officer Husin Jazri said consumers who responded to such messages would be asked to click a link that would open up phishing or fake e-banking websites in which they would be asked to key in personal details such as the usernames and passwords of their e-banking accounts.

Once the culprits obtained these details, they would "phish" away money from the victims' accounts, he added.

"As these fake websites look exactly like the original, customers are tricked into entering these confidential information," he told Bernama.

Husin said last year, a total of 3,564 reports of Internet-related incidents were received through the Cyber999 Help Centre, an increase of 68 per cent from the same period in 2008.

Husin said phishing or fake websites were created to look like the design of some of well-known banks' e-banking websites to manipulate the weak side of human being's sense of security by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.

"Usually, phishing attacks also utilise a kind of 'social engineering tactic' such as sending spam e-mails that look as though they are legitimate e-mails from well-known banks.

"The fraudulent e-mails use convincing words to trick people into clicking a link that would open up the fake websites.

"Banks will never ask their customers, particularly their e-banking users, to do any account update, password reset, account unclocking or to reveal any personal information in relation to banking, via e-mails or URLs," Husin noted.

Husin said that CyberSecurity, an agency under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, was monitoring the situation.

The agency was also working closely with various authorities namely the police, Bank Negara, Securities Commission and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to provide specialised and in-depth technical support on how to tackle cyber threats, he said.

As phishing activities had become more rampant each year and considered as one of the major threats to the country, Husin said, the government had taken steps to combat the scams, including setting up CyberSecurity and the formulation of the National Cyber Security Policy.

"In an effort to educate the people and to increase awareness on Internet security, CyberSecurity has developed a program called CyberSAFE where the public can get information on Internet safety issue at its portal," Husin said.

The Public can also contact CyberSecurity at Cyber999 Help Centre or e-mail at where technical advice and support will be provided.