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Only $4 left: Single mum loses $28k after phone gets hacked, realises she has 2 Chromes installed, Singapore News | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


If you’ve got two Google Chrome browers on your phone, you’re not doubling your search speeds or anything of the sort — instead, you’re likely getting hacked.

That’s what a woman surnamed Chen, 49, realised after her phone was hacked and the money in her account taken, she told Shin Min Daily News in a report yesterday (Aug 9).

She first became suspicious of her phone when she saw a notification pop up, indicating a transfer of $6,000 out of her bank account at 6pm on July 18.

When she tapped on the notification, however, it disappeared.

Chen then logged into her bank account to investigate and was horrified to see that she only had $4 left in the account, immediately contacting the bank to freeze her account.

She then passed her phone over to the police for them to look into the matter and it was discovered that she had been a victim of malware.

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According to the police, Chen had likely clicked on an advertisement in Facebook that downloaded the malware without her knowledge.

However, criminals wouldn’t be able to access her phone with just that — approval by the phone’s owner would be required, reported the Chinese-language daily. 

Therefore, the malware application was disguised as Google Chrome and sent a request to Chen for an ‘update’. This then allowed the hackers to work on Chen’s phone remotely.

The hacker first logged into her bank account on July 15, adding a payee to her list to circumvent the alerts that would be created upon transfers being made.

Then on July 18, five transactions took place, including a loan for $20,000. Her total losses amounted to $28,000.

“I have a lot of apps, so I never found that there were two Chromes on my phone,” Chen admitted to the Chinese daily.

“We ought to remember to check our phones to prevent malicious acts like these from happening again.”

Converted to cryptocurrency

Aside from the payee addition, the hackers cleared their tracks by deleting transaction records both in her bank account and in the SMS notifications she would have received.

Moreover, the payee in question was an encrypted cryptocurrency entity that she could not identify.

Once her money was sent to the entity, it was converted into cryptocurrency and transferred to another third party, so her money couldn’t be recovered, the police shared with Chen, according to Shin Min. 

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This loss was felt by Chen, a single mum of two children, aged 10 and seven.

She explained to Shin Min that she needed $700 a month to cover the costs of food and hiring a maid to take care of children so she could work.

Although she understands that the $8,000 she lost might never come back, she expressed confusion as to why the bank allowed her to withdraw a $20,000 loan, especially since she has never done so in the past.

After explaining her situation to the bank, the latter insisted that she pay the $20,000 owed, along with a $700 fee for handling and interest.

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Not paying these prices would result in her credit score being affected.

Chen then approached her MP and the Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Centre (FIDReC) for aid.

Last Sunday (Aug 6), she received word from the bank that they would be re-examining the case.

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[email protected]

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