Quann Malaysia is urging Malaysians to be prepared for a rise in clickbait phishing links that could potentially be a cyber security threat during the upcoming 14th Malaysian General Elections (GE14). “When a news sounds too good to be true, it is likely fake news,” says Ivan Wen, General Manager of Quann Malaysia.
However, the masses still tend to fall for these gimmicks and this is how clickbait phishing sites or emails with attachments are often sent with sensational titles that lures users to click links for ‘exclusive’ or ‘shocking’ stories.
Once clicked, users are led to a phishing site that tricks victims into giving their personal data such as email addresses, identity card numbers and even credit card information. These phishing emails can also launch ransomware attacks that encrypt important information on the device. If that wasn’t bad enough, the phishing links could automatically be shared with your contacts once they have access to your devices, potentially putting your contacts at harm.
To prevent being infected by malware via clickbait links, Wen advices users to take the following precautions:
- Key in the address of a legitimate news site instead of directly clicking links sent to you. This avoids being tricked and misdirected to a fake website.
- Before clicking, hover your mouse pointer over the link to view the link address. Do not click website links that are unfamiliar, even if they came from someone you know. Their accounts could have been compromised.
- Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar and Antivirus that run quick checks on sites you visit to ensure they are safe to visit
- Only access secure sites that begin with “https” with a closed lock icon near the address bar.
- Regularly monitor your online accounts to ensure they have not been hacked. Use strong passwords and regularly change them.
- Regularly update your browsers with the necessary security patches
- Beware of pop-up windows posing as legitimate extensions of a website. Often they are used to target users visiting a website that has been compromised
“Juicy news is hard to resist, but the possibility of losing your critical data, or worse, your money is not worth succumbing to curiosity conjured by the unbelievable clickbait news or offer titles,” ends Wen.