The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) through its department of Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) has cautioned the general public about the mushrooming social media account hackers particularly WhatsApp after receiving numerous complaints from victims of the ongoing fraudsters.
WhatsApp, a platform designed to enable secure one-on-one and small group conversation, has become a target for scammers who hack into user’s shared confidential messages in a bid to use the information for personal gains.
It is alleged that the hackers try to install WhatsApp on their phones using an existing legitimate user’s phone number (who will be the victim in this case).
WhatsApp will then send a one-time verification code via SMS (to the victims phone number) to enable them login.
The hacker then calls the victim whose number was used under the pretence that they chipped in a wrong number while requesting for a WhatsApp verification code.
They will then ask the victim to forward the SMS with the code. Once the victim gives the hacker the SMS, the later will have control over the account and block the owner from accessing their WhatsApp data.
However, CERT warned that the account owners can prevent this by being cautious not to share the particular SMS that has a code number, especially one that you did not request for.
“The user can also modify the security settings on their phone by turning on the Two-factor authentication on their WhatsApp account to add an extra layer of security,” reads the notice from the department.
Turning on the Two-Factor/Two-Step Verification on your WhatsApp account is done as in these steps:
Open WhatsApp -> Settings -> Account ->Two-Step Verification -> Enable