WannaCry Through WhatsApp and e-Banking Hoaxes

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It appears that WannaCry is generating more fake news than being a nuisance itself in Malaysia.

  • Fake message #1: Ransomware being WhatsApp compatible 
  • Fake message #2: WannaCry distributed through online banking services

Two viral messages have been widely circulated, with one claiming that the WannaCry ransomware is now “WhatsApp compatible”, and the other alleging that it is being distributed through online banking services. Both are hoaxes!

The fake message regarding the cyber attack penetrating Internet banking services advises against performing online transactions or online purchases. It warns people against using e-banking websites such as CIMB Clicks, Maybank2U and RHB Now, as well as popular online retailers such as Lazada, Zalora, Carousell, McDonald’s, KFC Delivery and Pizza Hut Delivery.

As for the “WhatsApp compatible” fake message, it claims that the ransomware might be embedded in mobile phones when the user opens an attachment that appears to be a “good morning” or “thought of the day” message.

To lend credence to the fake messages, they are followed by a link to The Star Online story about Malaysia being hit by the WannaCry ransomware but which contains no reference at all of it spreading through WhatsApp or online banking.

CyberSecurity Malaysia has confirmed that both messages are fake.

Bernama quoted the Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) as saying that Internet banking and ATM services are operating as usual, hence there is no truth in messages of disruption of such services due to ransomware attacks.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau has urged the public not to fall prey to fake viral messages about the WannaCry ransomware.

“Do not panic and easily believe viral messages spreading through social media. Make sure the email you receive is genuine and authenticated before clicking on any link, image or video that is being spread through WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and such applications,” he said at a press conference.

So, folks, as said in our previous report, just take legitimate steps to protect against WannaCry attacks and no need to be in a frenzy over the flurry of so-called well-meaning but fake messages.