One of the many things we love about the holiday season is that it’s the perfect time to reconnect with friends and even family members we haven’t spoken to as much throughout the year. Even if it’s just a short and sweet message from your long lost bestie or a really cute GIF sent by your favorite tita, it definitely gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.
The holiday season, however, isn’t a reason to completely put your walls down. Amidst all the greetings and sweet messages, CNN Philippines reports that a cybersecurity nonprofit firm reminds everyone to be extra careful in opening messages. According to Cyber Security Philippines - Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), there are malicious and fraudulent holiday greetings that are being sent through messaging apps, especially Facebook Messenger. The indicator: a mail icon captioned with “I am send you a surprise message. Open this.”
CERT explained that the cyber attack occurs by receiving a random message with a link attahced. Once the link is opened, the victim is redirected to several unsafe websites that will bombard the user with holiday greetings. Finally, the victim is asked to input personal data, giving the malicious script access to the victims' contacts so that the message is further sent out.
Among the list of websites to watch out for are:
What to do if you've clicked on the malicious link
If you’ve already clicked the message, it’s not yet too late. The cybersecurity group’s advice is to change the passwords of all your social media and online banking accounts. It’s also best reset browsers, update the anti-malware software and consistently scan your devices.