Phishing reports bring renewed gov’t warning

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Phishing reports bring renewed gov’t warning

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Captured image of mobile phishing message

A 60-year-old homemaker surnamed Huh was perplexed earlier this week when she received a text message from a friend inviting her to a baby’s birthday party. The message had a mobile invitation link. Though the message was sent using her friend’s number, Huh thought something was strange because her friend had never mentioned a party coming up for her grandchildren.

"When I called my friend later to check if she had really sent the message, my friend said she [didn't] and that her mobile number was misused to send spam messages," Huh said. "Apparently, my friend told me that the message was sent to dozens of her friends in her mobile phone book immediately after she clicked the same invitation link she received from another friend."

With a growing number of victims of phishing attacks, the government yesterday issued a nationwide warning about financial scams using electronic devices. It is the second time that related ministries - the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the Financial Services Commission and the National Police Agency and Financial Supervisory Service - collectively issued a warning after the first in March. As part of efforts to counteract various phishing scams, the four government institutions agreed last November to issue an alert to inform people to be extra cautious.

"Methods of financial fraud using electronic devices have become more diversified," said an official at the Financial Supervisory Service. "In the past, for example, phishing crimes were committed simply by luring Web users to click on fake Internet sites. Now, there are so many ways to lure victims."

According to the FSS, there also are cases where attackers use a caller's mobile number to contact potential victims and try to get them to provide personal information to participate in a nonexistent event. Also, some attackers invade a potential victim’s personal computer and infect it with a virus that launches a fake pop-up message on an online banking site that asks for two digits of a personal security number.

Recent data by the FSS showed that the number of phishing cases last year jumped to 5,709 from 1,488 in 2006, while the amount of money lost grew from 10.6 billion won ($9.55 million) to 59.5 billion won over the same period.

"With an alert issued, we will utilize all communication measures such as Web sites of financial institutions and broadcasting to ask people to be more cautious," the official said.


BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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