Cyber criminals look to exploit Kerala’s love for elections

Experts identify poll-themed phishing attacks that are disguised as surveys to penetrate users’ digital devices

Published: 19th March 2021 05:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2021 05:37 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

Express News Service

KOCHI: Beware! Utilising upcoming assembly election, cyber fraudsters have come out with bogus surveys on social media platforms as part of phishing attacks. Cyber experts have identified phishing attacks intended to penetrate the mobile phone or computer of the person taking part in the survey.It was the cyber security firm Technisanct based in Kochi that conducted a detailed analysis of links claiming to be a part of the election survey that revealed a phishing attempt made by cyber fraudsters. The election-themed phishing was busted after analysing two links and For luring participants, a mobile phone is offered as a gift.

“Our team has been working on these election-themed phishing attacks for some days. Both the links are using the same IP address from two different domains. Analysis proved that it could be a phishing attack that would finally end up with the attacker taking control of the participant’s smartphone device using malware. Once the link is clicked and the poll is completed, it will lead to a page which prompts the participant to reshare the link to another five people via WhatsApp,” Nandakishore Harikumar, CEO of Technisanct, said.

The nature of malware, along with other indicators of attack and compromise, is being assessed by the Technisanct team. It was found that 58,08,239 people took part in the bogus survey from India recently. As many as 91 per cent of participants took part in the survey using Chrome Mobile browsers. The real-time map of participants of the survey showed that most of them were from Kerala. Apart from that, there were participants from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal. There were several participants from Gulf countries, Europe and the US.

“Often people are vulnerable to theme-based phishing attacks. Considering the sentiments of Keralites to the election, the cyber fraudsters knew that there would be maximum participation. It is up to each individual to protect their data for which one should be careful while clicking on such bogus links,” he said.

However, the police are yet to receive any complaints about money or data loss. An officer with Cyber Dome of Kerala Police said that they are alert about such phishing activities during election time. “We have put some bogus survey links under surveillance. Once a complaint is received, a case will be registered by the police and steps will be taken to book them,” a police officer said.

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