Channel NewsAsia

Several LINE accounts compromised, contacts tricked into buying gift cards

In July alone, 15 such cases have been reported to the police. In the worst case, a victim was cheated of about $3,000.  

SINGAPORE: Several users of mobile messaging application LINE have made police reports after finding themselves entangled in a scam.

These users' accounts were reportedly compromised.Their contacts were tricked into buying iTunes gift cards after receiving messages purportedly sent by the users.

One victim of the scam told Channel NewsAsia: "I went into my Line account and tried to change my password and email address, but I couldn't do it as the hacker had actually embedded his email address in it. So I decided to send messages one by one to all my friends to warn them to block my nick from their Line account. And they replied saying that they have received such a message from me."

In July alone, 15 such cases have been reported to the police. In the worst case, a victim was cheated of about $3,000.

In a statement issued on Friday (Aug 1), LINE said that user privacy protection and stable service support remain its top priorities. "Some cases have shown that personal information retrieved from other weakly-protected sources may be misused on LINE for unauthorized access, if the user keeps the same log-in ID and password for multiple services. As LINE becomes more popular around the world, LINE would like to remind users to protect their personal information by using individualized password for LINE and changing it on a regular basis. It is also important for users to not disclose their IDs publicly."

Users can also choose the Reject Message setting to stop receiving messages from unknown contacts, and block or report contacts that send spam messages or links with malware, said the statement.

The LINE 4.5.0 version also features an extra security measure: Users who only sign-in via their Facebook accounts will be requested to register with their phone number or e-mail address. If they register with the e-mail address only, an additional set up of Migration Pin Code will be required.

The Migration PIN Code function allows users to set up four-digit security code for mobile devices, according to LINE's statement. In order to prevent unauthorized use of personal account information, LINE users can use the same PIN code to log-in and access their account information, even after changing their mobile devices.

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