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Widespread Phishing Scam Discovered In Saudi Arabia

Group-IB, a global cybersecurity firm, has published research into a scheme where scammers impersonate one of the leading manpower agencies in Saudi Arabia.

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widespread phishing scam discovered in kingdom of saudi arabia

Analysts from a leading cybersecurity firm, Group-IB, have uncovered a massive phishing scam operation meant to impersonate one of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s top recruitment agencies.

The cybersecurity team found at least 1,000 malicious domains during their research, with most containing a close match to a well-known Saudi agency that offers assistance in hiring employees for the construction and services sector, as well as domestic workers. Scams of this nature are growing at a rate of 10% per year, with more than $55 billion stolen during 2021 alone.

rogue domains detected in saudi arabia scam campaign

How The Scam Worked

The fake domains and their associated URLs were meant to fool people into thinking they’re the real deal. In addition, each domain featured convincing web pages designed to mimic the official agency website. Scammers were using these web pages to convince people to enter their data, hoping to harvest banking details, as well as both login information and two-factor authentication (2FA) codes.

how the saudi arabia manpower scam campaign works

To drive traffic to these fraudulent websites, the criminals used multiple layers of social engineering, first using ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Google that encouraged SMS or WhatsApp conversations, and then sending unwitting users to the fake sites to enter their details.

Once a user had landed on a fake domain, they were persuaded to part with a small processing fee of 50 or 100 SAR (approximately $13 or $27), which enabled the scammers to harvest banking data to empty accounts and make off with user’s hard-earned cash.

Also Read: Is Your Phone Hacked? How To Find Out & Protect Yourself

“Scammers are becoming increasingly resourceful and collaborative, and spoof domain brokers are actively assisting cybercriminals. We encourage companies and organizations to monitor for signs of brand abuse, and we also urge internet users to remain vigilant so that they do not become victims of scams such as this,” says Mark Alpatskiy, CERT-GIB Senior Analyst.

Falling victim to a phishing scam can be costly, and Internet users are urged to show caution and always check URLs to verify they are legitimate before entering any personal data, as well as ensuring they are in communication with online chat services or call centers of the official company in question.

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Binance Receives Virtual Assets License To Operate In Dubai

As its user base nears 200 million, CEO Richard Teng believes crypto adoption will soar over the next half of the decade.

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binance receives virtual assets license to operate in dubai

Global crypto exchange Binance has been granted a full operational license in Dubai, in a move that’s expected to accelerate digital asset adoption and strengthen the UAE’s regulatory landscape.

The virtual asset service provider license (VASP) was granted by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and will allow Binance to extend its current range of services to retail investors, the company announced yesterday.

The move by Dubai authorities will be critical to Binance’s strategy of growing its user base globally. The crypto exchange expects to pass the 200 million user mark “quite shortly”, according to Richard Teng, the company’s CEO.

Once that milestone is achieved, Binance will have around twice as many users as rival platform Coinbase. Meanwhile, Crypto.com, another popular exchange with 80 million users, received a Dubai VASP license last week.

“We’re seeing much greater institutional adoption and institutional money coming into this space [along with] much greater regulatory clarity and a lot more jurisdictions approving [digital asset] products that bring in new investor classes,” Binance’s Richard Tang explained, adding: “As of now, we stand at about 5% crypto adoption globally, but that will become much faster moving forward”.

Also Read: Microsoft Invests $1.5 Billion In Abu Dhabi AI Tech Firm G42

Dubai and the UAE are extremely supportive of technologies like digital assets, and have already launched initiatives to boost adoption. The UAE has ambitious plans to become a world leader in the crypto economy of the future, with Dubai in particular being noteworthy for passing a new law to regulate virtual assets to support investors and exchanges.

“Global crypto regulation is currently showing diverging signs. Some developed countries have long suffered from crypto-related frauds and illegal exchanges. On the other hand, emerging nations like the UAE and Singapore have enacted crypto laws at faced pace,” said Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer of Dubai-based Century Financial.

As the UAE gears up to become one of the fastest-growing crypto capitals worldwide, investors and talent are flocking to places like Dubai. During 2023, the Emirates as a whole realized $204 million in capital gains from cryptocurrency investments, according to blockchain data analysts Chainalysis.

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