Phone users warned over malicious apps

Phone users warned over malicious apps

Pedestrians check their smartphones on a bridge in Bangkok. (File photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Pedestrians check their smartphones on a bridge in Bangkok. (File photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) has urged iPhone Operating System (iOS) and Android phone users to look out for some 200 malicious applications and delete them from their devices if found.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said the ministry and the National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) have found more than 200 apps infected with malware and published them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/prmdes.official.

These malicious apps include Chat Text SMS, Classic Game Messenger, Care Message, Cartoons Me, Creative Emoji Keyboard, Flashlight Flash Alert On Call, Password Manager and YouToon-All Cartoon Effect.

Anyone who has these apps installed on their devices is urged to delete them immediately as well as update their software to ensure that security is up to date, Mr Chaiwut said, adding that the ministry has already asked Google and Apple to remove these apps from app stores.

"The public is being asked to look out for malicious apps. If they are downloaded, hackers can steal your personal data or take control of your phones," he said.

Mr Chaiwut also warned about phishing, where scammers send a text message that appears to be from well-known establishments, including banks, asking the phone user to click on a link or enter personal data such as passwords.

NCSA Thailand is gathering information about companies that send out fake texts and will ask the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and mobile phone operators to block these text messages, he said.

The DES minister said scammers also use the LINE chat application while disguised as legitimate companies to steal personal information. He asked the public to double-check when contacting businesses or state agencies via LINE.

Chayawadee Chai-Anant, Bank of Thailand's (BoT) assistant governor, said the central bank had instructed commercial banks to improve security for mobile banking security services.

One measure for cyber safety is that a mobile banking app or an e-wallet must only be used on one device to reduce risks, she said.

Ms Chayawadee said phone users need to be aware that banks will not include a link in their text messages or emails asking users to enter personal information. She said the central bank is also working with agencies concerned to raise public awareness about fraudulent activities and to prevent the use of mule accounts.


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