Fraudsters hijack WhatsApp accounts through fake petitions

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The government’s computer emergency response team CERT-UA, which operates under the State Special Communications Service of Ukraine, warns of a new fraudulent scheme aimed at stealing Ukrainians’ WhatsApp accounts.

A type of fraud

Attackers send messages on WhatsApp, calling for votes for an electronic petition to award the title of “Hero of Ukraine” posthumously to Ukrainian military personnel. The messages contain a link to a fake website that imitates the official website of the “Electronic Petitions”.

The described activity has been monitored by CERT-UA since April 2024 under the identifier UAC-0195. As of 20.04.2024, CERT-UA has identified 18 domain names and sent appropriate requests to block them.

How fraudsters work

  • The victim follows the link in the fake message.
  • The fake website offers to enter a phone number and receive a code.
  • The victim enters a code in WhatsApp to “add a trusted device.”
  • The attackers gain access to the victim’s WhatsApp account.

Consequences

Attackers can read your messages, see your photos and videos, and send messages on your behalf.

How to protect yourself

  • Do not click on links in suspicious WhatsApp messages.
  • Check the domain name of the website before entering any data. The official page of “Electronic Petitions” is located at: https://petition.president.gov.ua/
  • Never enter a code received via SMS on third-party websites.
  • Be critical of any calls to follow a link or scan a QR code.
  • Set up two-factor authentication.

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