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How hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to avoid them

Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message.

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How hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to avoid them

Have you ever received a message from any of your contacts that reads something like this; “Hello, I’m having trouble and asked WhatsApp to send you my sms code”?

Well, if you have received such from a friend, his/her line had most likely been hacked, and the hackers were trying to do same to yours.

READ ALSO: Why Warren Buffett’s company is buying shares of a gold mining company

A recent research conducted in Australia showed that in 2019 alone, Australians have lost almost $90 million. The figures rose by 62% during the period the COVID-19 lockdown lasted, with one in every 6 social media user falling victim.

According to the research conducted by software security provider, NortonLifeLock, this was common across WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram, getting even more young people who considered themselves too smart to be scanned.

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How is this possible?

WhatsApp is a messaging application linked to your mobile phone number. The app is designed to be used on one device at a time, with an advanced end-to-end encryption that only allows sender and receiver to see the messages.

Any attempt to log in from another device requires a 6-digit verification code that only the owner of the sim card has access to.

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When the hacker tries to access your WhatsApp account from another device, the app prompts for the 6-digit verification code.

Now, this is where you have to be alert. The hackers will try to get the six-digit verification code by any means.

They could claim to be calling for any reason, and then request the code to verify that you really own the sim card. Or they could claim that you are the beneficiary of some windfall, and they need the code to confirm.

The sad part of it is that as soon as you fall victim, all your contacts become potential victims as well, because they now utilise the access to send a WhatsApp message to them.

READ ALSO: $1 million up for grabs for anyone who can hack an iPhone

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The message could also be asking them for their verification code, personal or financial details, or it could start out as romance or online dating where the victim is roped into believing that he is in some sort of romantic tryst.

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Worse still ask them to make payment for some product or service they would never receive, or offer juicy deals where they claim to double the victim’s supposed investment.

Quick tip here; Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message. No matter how stranded the person claims to be; insist on a voice or video call before sending money into any account.

Personal details, pins and codes should be a no-no.  Any verification code, token or pin sent to your sim card is not meant to be divulged to anyone else.  Giving it out allows the hackers to impersonate you.

READ: Telcos, Banks at loggerheads over SIM swap fraud

So what if you discover you have been deceived into giving out your details?

Quickly try to change your passwords and deactivate all online transactions on your accounts. If you can reach your bank, place a hold on transactions of any kind and freeze your cards. This authorises your bank to disregard any request to move out funds from your account, until you say otherwise.

This can only work if you discover really fast, but as advised, it is a situation best avoided.

What to look out for?

According to Cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie, the first red flag to look out for is “spelling mistakes or poor grammar”. Fortunately, the scammers are not that ‘smart’ and they make errors which they keep sending to their potential victims repeatedly.

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Once you find that your contact (friend or client) is sending you a message containing spelling errors, don’t ignore it. Place a call across and find out what is going on. Scammers almost never take such calls and if they do, you will figure out that you have the wrong person.

Another thing to beware of is generic greetings or URLs that don’t match the company in the message. Often, such urls could take you to sites where you are then asked to fill in personal and sensitive data.

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Importantly, if the offer looks too good to be true, it most likely is.

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Amina

    September 16, 2020 at 1:42 am

    A lot fake tricks from fake people claiming to be professionals and the real deal. So much i lost to these fakes but AZELYNABHAYAPRADA @ YAH00 C0M proves differently, providing unlimited swift accessing and controlling of phones,computers and any database system remotely. View Messages, audio/video logs, hear/record calls, track location, live camera, mail, media also retrieving deleted/old data and so much more services..

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 19th of October 2020, 118 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 61,558 confirmed cases.

On the 19th of October 2020, 118 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 11,794 samples across the country.

To date, 61,558 cases have been confirmed, 56,697 cases have been discharged and 1125 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 590,635 tests have been carried out as of October 19th, 2020 compared to 578,841 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th October 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 61,558
  • Total Number Discharged – 56,697
  • Total Deaths – 1,1125
  • Total Tests Carried out – 590,635

According to the NCDC, The 118 new cases are reported from 10 states – Lagos (51), Rivers (26), Imo (12), Osun (8), Plateau (6), FCT (5), Kaduna (4), Ogun (3), Edo (2), Niger (1)

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,696, followed by Abuja (5,923), Plateau (3,587), Oyo (3,415), Rivers (2,735), Edo (2,645), Kaduna (2,532), Ogun (1,983), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,657), Enugu (1,313),  Kwara (1,050), Ebonyi (1,049), Osun (916), Katsina (904), Abia (898), Gombe (883).  Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).

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Imo State has recorded 610 cases, Benue (484), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403),  Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (275), Niger (274), Adamawa (248), Sokoto (162), Taraba (117), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara and Yobe (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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Business

Lagos orders shutdown of all schools over #EndSARS protests

Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of all public and private schools in the state.

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Lagos state to employ teachers quarterly to replace retired teachers – Commissioner

The Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of all public and private schools in the state, following the tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.

This directive was issued by the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, on behalf of the government, as part of the measures aimed at ensuring the safety of the pupils/students, parents, and all staff working in schools at this critical period.

Part of the statement from the commissioner reads, “The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.”

However, she advised parents to keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society.

The Commissioner also encouraged schools to utilize other means of distance teaching and learning such as radio, television, and online media, as they have been doing during and post COVID-19 lockdown.

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According to Adefisayo, a new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.

Details later…

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Business

Airtel denies giving free N1,000 recharge

Airtel has dismissed claims that it gave away free airtime to its subscribers.

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Then and now: Nigeria's telecommunication history 

Airtel Nigeria has denied rolling out free N1,000 recharge to its numerous subscribers.

This was disclosed on Monday, by a source in the Telco, who preferred to be anonymous as he is not permitted to talk officially on behalf of the company.

He said, “Airtel is not giving out airtime worth N1,000. It is not true.”

Efforts to get the official response from Airtel Nigeria were abortive, as its Vice President, Corporate Communications and CSR, Emeka Opara refused to pick calls or respond to inquiries sent to him as at the time of this report.

The denial came after an alleged hacker, Anonymous took to Twitter asking Airtel Nigeria’s subscribers to check their balance that they have been credited with N1,000 airtime.

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However, following the claim by Anonymous, many Airtel subscribers on Twitter claimed to have received the free airtime in their phones.

Some reactions from subscribers on Twitter

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