Anti-Cybercrime Unit: Social media users should not click on strange messages

TO PREVENT hackers from collecting personal information, the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (Racu)-Central Visayas has urged social media users not to click on messages sent by unknown websites or strangers.

Racu-Central Visayas Chief Police Colonel Marlo Castillo said the messages could be a computer virus that the hackers had developed to steal identities, including documents and bank account.

On Monday, December 30, 2019, Filipino Facebook users were alarmed after receiving messages from wish-you.co., urging the netizens to open the messages as it had surprises in store for them.

Facebook user Erica of Barangay Apas, Cebu City said she received the same message, but she did not open it for fear of risking her security.

“I did not open the message as it could be a virus. I’m afraid my Facebook account would be hacked,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Erica added: “This is a strange time. The criminals are terrifying because they are now high tech.”

According to Castillo, the message could be a malware developed by a group of hackers.

“The term malware is a contraction of malicious software. Put simply, malware is any piece of software that was written with the intent of damaging devices, stealing data, and generally causing a mess. Viruses, Trojans, spyware and ransomware are among the different kinds of malware,” according to avg.com.

Castillo said if a social media user clicks on the message, a hacker could get data and use the netizen’s identity in perpetrating cybercrime in or outside the country. During the holiday season, Castillo said hackers often spread computer viruses in the guise of Christmas messages to lure potential victims.

The police officer said it is difficult to trace the persons who spread computer viruses. Even countries with advanced technologies, he said, often fail to arrest hackers. (AYB, RSR)