Raise Public Awareness of Cyber Security: Guard against Risks of Unknown WhatsApp Video Calls
With the advancement of technology, cyber security has become an important issue that cannot be ignored in our lives. Cyber-attacks have become increasingly sophisticated. Some citizens have reported to the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT) that they have received suspicious WhatsApp video calls from strangers (using area codes such as +62 and +44), claiming to be from the police or banking institutions and even knowing the names of the victims. This has raised public concern about the risks of unknown video calls. This article aims to raise public awareness of cyber security and provide practical advice to guard against unknown video calls.
1. Why Attackers Initiate Video Calls than Voice Calls?
Personal Identity: Attackers may capture the appearance of citizens through video calls and relating the video or image capture to an identifiable individual through Internet search from Google, social media posts or online photo albums. Also, it can observe personal details in targets' backgrounds or appearances that can aid future social engineering or identity theft attacks.
Obtain Facial Information for Deepfake: Attackers may obtain the appearance and voice of citizens through video calls to create a highly realistic deepfake, which may be used in other fraudulent activities to your family members or friends.
Identity Impersonation for Illegal Activities: With both video and voice of the attackers is visible, it is easier for attackers to create an illusion with fake scene, background or costume, pretending to be from organizations like law enforcement or banks to sound legitimate and intimidating for financial scam.
Sense of Urgency: A video call makes the targets feel they need to respond quickly, leaving less time for critical thinking. This helps attackers maintain control of the interaction for scam.
2. What Are the Risks of Unknown Video Calls?
Scams: Attackers may attempt to engage in fraudulent activities through video calls, such as impersonating police officers or bank staff to obtain your personal information or money.
Privacy Breach: Strangers may use video calls to invade your privacy by secretly recording videos or taking photos for improper use or dissemination. In addition, careless use of the screen sharing function in WhatsApp increases the risk of data leakage (Right Image). For example, the user is using banking service or typing a password.
3. Practical Advice to Guard against Unknown Video Calls
Exercise Caution in Answering Calls: Maintain a cautious attitude towards video calls from unknown individuals. If you don't know the caller, you can choose not to answer or directly reject the call.
Avoid Disclosing Personal Information: Do not disclose sensitive personal information such as passwords or bank account numbers during unknown video calls. Legitimate institutions or their staff will not request such information through video calls.
Exercise Caution with File Downloads: Be cautious if a stranger request you to download or open a file during a video call. Only download files from trusted sources and scan them with secure antivirus software.
Discuss with Family and Friends: Discuss these risks with your family and friends, increase awareness of unknown video calls together, and provide mutual support and advice.
Configure Privacy Settings: Check the privacy options of your devices and applications to ensure that only authorized individuals can initiate video calls with you, or you can mute unknown callers (Open WhatsApp “Setting” > “Privacy” > “Calls” > enable “Sillence Unknown Callers”).
Cyber security is increasingly important, and guarding against the risks of unknown video calls is one of the challenges we must face. By following the practical advice provided in this article and maintaining vigilance, individuals can enhance cyber security and protect themselves from potential threats. Exercise caution in answering video calls from strangers, avoid disclosing sensitive personal information, be cautious with file downloads, configure privacy settings, and discuss these risks with family and friends to raise awareness of unknown video calls together. Only through these efforts can we establish a safer online environment and protect the interests of individuals and society.