Internet chatting has been a very entertaining pastime for a resident here until a couple of days ago when she fell victim to a hacker on the Internet. To her surprise, one of her her office collegues also fell victim the next day.
Hackers have gained access to their Yahoo! Messenger accounts and they are using them to make money, one of them told The Peninsula yesterday.
She said the hackers used the same strategy to access their Yahoo! Mail accounts. The victim said the hacker disguised himself as one of her friends sharing some photos through Flickr. To view the photos, the procedure required signing in using her Yahoo! ID and password. The moment she signed in, the hacker was able to collect information regarding her account and used the information to connect to her family and friends.
She was alarmed when one of her friends sent her a message about a request to buy prepaid roaming phone cards. She was surprised since she never asked for it. Another friend sent a message to the hacker telling him she knew that he was using another’s ID.
The hacker threatened the friend saying he could obtain her account information and erase all her files.
“There are a number of methods hackers employ to obtain sensitive information; one of them is key-logging,” an IT specialist told The Peninsula.
Key-logging can be very useful to determine how users interact with a system. It is a widely used system employed by law enforcers to access passwords or encryption keys bypassing security measures. Widely available on the Internet, key-loggers are prone to abuse by law breakers.
“Internet users must be very careful in interacting with others, because once they enter their password, the hacker could automatically gain access to the information,” the IT expert said.
The incident is worrying the resident since she could not even open her email and Yahoo! as the hacker has already changed the password.
“Right now, I have been sending messages to my relatives and friends telling them not to respond to messages coming from my old ID because it was hacked,” she said. Many have already fallen victim to hackers using the same modus operandi. One of them was a Filipino based in Malaysia several months ago who could have spent a hefty P50,000 worth of prepaid phone cards had he not been alerted early.
It is always advisable to call persons concerned in the home country than communicate through Internet in case of very important matters such as financial transactions, the expert said.
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