01 July 2013

Phishing crimes, commonly suffered by online banking and e-commerce users, have decreased significantly due to joint cooperation between the police, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Bank Negara.

Phishing is an online scam where personal information is stolen through emails. MCMC chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi said the significant reduction in the number of phishing cases has helped to restore consumer confidence in the security of online banking services and e-commerce.

"Last year, MCMC successfully took down a total of 2,611 phishing sites in Malaysia," he said. The total of phishing sites taken down between Jan and May this year is 652, compared with 835 during the same period last year. The reduction in phishing cases shows that enforcement efforts have been effective.

"At the same time, it also shows that public awareness has risen with more users being careful in their online banking and e-commerce activities," Mohamed Sharil said.

The MCMC network security centre, which is responsible for mitigating the phishing reports, functions 24 hours daily and takes no more than four hours to shut down a phishing site. The length of time for a site to be pulled down depends on the location, whether it originates locally or abroad.

Besides working with the police and BNM, the centre also reports phishing instances to other international agencies such as CERT or cyber security engineering. Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox also use this phishing information in their in-browser phishing protection.

Personal information obtained through phishing is used by the perpetrator to steal money from the victim's bank account.

In 2009, losses reported from phishing cases in Malaysia stood at RM215,131 but the following year, it skyrocketed to RM3.3 million as scam artists took advantage of gullible online bank users.

In 2012, losses had been reduced to almost RM2 million while this year, as of May, the losses were RM17,000. – July 2, 2013.


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